Proposals could limit amount of swimmers, close pools at Oheo Gulch

Local News

It’s a popular stop along the Road to Hana on Maui.

But after 28 years, a new plan is in the works that could limit the number of people allowed to visit the Seven Sacred Pools.

Nearly 800,000 people visit the Pools of Oheo each year. In the past 28 years, several people have been injured and have died at the popular spot. 

To address increased safety and traffic concerns, the park has come up with three proposals.

The first plan wouldn’t change anything to Haleakala National Park Kipahulu District. 

The second plan, which is preferred by the park, would allow swimming at your own risk. It could also include a reservation system requiring wristbands for swimmers, limiting the amount of people in the pools at any given time.

The park would also create new trails and facilities to accommodate the high number of visitors.

The third alternative, would close the pools for good. 

“The wristbands were only listed as an example of an adaptive strategy to manage crowd control. The park is not currently considering wristbands or anything like that,” said Charles Lassiter, Haleakala National Park Public Information Officer. 

The preferred proposal would increase annual operating costs by $738,000.

As for closing the pools to swimming, and how it could affect nearby businesses and residents:

“We believe if Pools of Oheo close, visitors will indeed pour over into waterfalls and unrightfully popularized hikes on the various private properties on the way,” said Napua Hueu, Hana Highway Regulation Committee Chair. 

The park will hold a public meeting on Oct. 15 at the Kipahulu District Visitor Center.  We’ll follow up and let you know what happens.

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