DLNR PRESS RELEASE-Dozens of Citations Issued During Ka’ena Point State Park Closing Hours
Posted on May 28, 2023 in Latest department news, Press room
(HONOLULU) – Eighteen people were cited Saturday night for being in an enclosed area, in violation of Ka’ena Point State Park’s closing hours. Five others were cited for not having special access permits.
A large digital sign at the entrance to the Mokuleia (North Shore) Section of the park has illuminated Memorial Day weekend closing hours since Thursday night. He the citations were issued by officers of the DLNR’s Division of Resource Conservation and Enforcement (DOCARE).
DLNR announced last week that due to the human impact on Ka’ena’s natural resources, it would enforce park hours over the holiday weekend; closed from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Officers in trucks and ATVs began contacting people on the beach and on the roads an hour before closing time Saturday night. People began packing up their coolers, beach chairs, and shade structures, and most left on time.
In addition to the 18 citations for closed areas and the five infractions for lack of special access permission, a man was cited for a violation of protected species, since he had speared a kala that was smaller than expected. The 24 people who were subpoenaed will appear in court next month.
Drivers with special access permits in their vehicles can open a locked gate at the end of the pavement to access designated dirt roads beyond. They are allowed in and out of the first door, being attended to all night by DOCARE officers.
Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) Administrator, said: “Ka’ena Point State Park, both the Mokuliea and Keawa’ula/Makua sections, truly represent the last of O’ahu’s vast and wild coastal environment. It’s a valuable resource for people to enjoy, but just as significant it’s a sanctuary for native birds and mammals that need extra protection when so many people visit, like what we’re seeing this weekend.”
Earlier in the day, DSP interpretive technician Lelsey McPherson made her rounds, keeping an eye out for any close interactions between people and monk seals. When the mother seals and their pups came out of the ocean, she asked the people to move back. “Shhh…I’m sleeping” signs dot the arena.
“One day during the current breeding season, we had 16 monk seals on the beaches of Ka’ena Point. Other than a fenced off area that the seals frequent, we don’t have the ability to have people watching them 24 hours a day like we did in Waikiki”.
Even next to the fence, with numerous warning signs, McPherson scared off two people who tried to cross to where a mother and cub were resting. He also backed off a man with a dog, noting that dogs are not allowed anywhere in the park at any time.
DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said: “We are devoting significant resources this weekend to enforcing the park closures and we appreciate that the vast majority of Ka’ena Point visitors are complying and when officials explain why, most understand.”
In addition to threats to protected species such as monk seals, illegal bonfires have left large nails scattered across the sand, jeep rides have damaged vegetation and created new erosion paths, and large parties have left much garbage in the park .
The nightly closures of Section Mokulē’ia continue until Monday, Memorial Day. In the Keawa’ula section of Ka’ena Point State Park, on the west side of O’ahu, nightly closures have been in effect for several years.
Added Cottrell: “This weekend is a pilot project as we explore the ability to enforce hours and behavior throughout the park on a permanent basis. We will engage the local community and stakeholders as these actions are evaluated and future plans formulated.”
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(All images and videos courtesy: DLNR)
HD Video: Ka’ena Point State Park Memorial Day Weekend Closures (May 27, 2023):
HD Video – Ka’ena Point Monk Seals (27 May 2023):
Photos: Ka’ena Point State Park Memorial Day Weekend Closures (May 27, 2023):
Photos – Ka’ena Point Monk Seals (May 27, 2023):
Senior Communications Manager