HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — The adventures of a group of siblings who found the enchanted land of Narnia in their family’s wardrobe was chronicled by C.S. Lewis in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. So, when we encounter a piece of paradise that is known as the land of Narnia, who can resist getting a glimpse or experiencing the adventure?
That is the problem that the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement is encountering at the Narnia waterfalls in Hilo. A land where visitors need a permit or hunting license to traverse, the Narnia trail is marked with signs that indicate it’s a restricted watershed section of the Hilo Forest Reserve.
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“It’s hard to overcome the power of social media, even when a site includes closure information,” remarked DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla.
According to DOCARE, websites and bloggers that promote the hike to Narnia disregard its protected status and provide maps and ways to get around law enforcement. The protected watershed provides drinking water for much of the Hilo area.
“We’ve seen a degree of success in reducing illegal entry to places like the long-closed Sacred Falls or White Road, by getting travel sites to completely eliminate any mentions of these restricted or closed areas. We hope our efforts to encourage reputable sites and bloggers to do the same with Narnia will result in greatly reduced numbers of trespassers there,” added Redulla.
“We will actively be working through the DLNR Communications Office to encourage travel sites and blogs to remove all mentions of Narnia, as far too many people are ignoring closures and no-trespassing signs,” said DOCARE Hawaii Island Branch Chief Lawrence “Junior” Terlep.
DOCARE officers are currently stationed outside Narnia’s entrance to educate those who would attempt to trespass.
“Unfortunately, many visitors in particular don’t understand the risks they face if they fall or go into the water when the river is raging,” said officer Craig Dente.
The officers have been able to turn back several groups who would be trespassers. They learned why they are not allowed in the area through an educational encounter with DOCARE.
One of the more invasive actions taken by trespassers in the area is the use of private driveways and lawns as parking areas. The entrance into Narnia is in a private neighborhood that has myriad trespassing signs posted throughout the neighborhood.
According to DOCARE, “for the past three years, no-parking signs have been up trying to keep visitors from blocking the single lane road by parking in driveways, in people’s yards or in such a way that two-way traffic is blocked.”
DOCARE wants visitors to know that Hawai’i has many places to visit that is just as gorgeous as Narnia with some being even more majestic. And, visiting those areas would not put a protected watershed in danger.
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“There are plenty of beautiful places to visit and no sense in risking your safety, the local water supply or getting a citation by entering a closed area,” concluded Dente.