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Parties, Dumping at Maui Forest Fuels Frustrations

Posted July 19, 2011, 04:12 PM HST Updated July 22, 2011, 02:43 PM HST
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By Wendy Osher

Photo taken 7/18/11 courtesy, Yunito Noh.

Maui forestry and enforcement personnel were notified of illegal dumping activity at the Kula State Forest Reserve on Maui.  The activity was reported just days after the park was officially reopened to the public following a winter storm that made the area unsafe for public use.

On Monday, reports were made of trash piles containing discarded beer bottles, alcohol containers, and charred rubbish.

DLNR Public information specialist Deborah Ward responded to the report saying it was “very discouraging that there is so little regard for the forest.”

An individual who made a report on the finding,  said they were “appalled” to find the area trashed after work and tax dollars were spent on restoring the park over the last several months.

Photo taken 7/18/11 courtesy, Yunito Noh.

The Kula State Forest was closed in January 2011 because of winter storm damage.  It just reopened on Friday, July 15, following months of repairs, that included road reconstruction, chopping of fallen timber, and removal of debris.

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Personnel from the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), the agency responsible for enforcement activities of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, is investigating the large illegal fire on the roadside.  Authorities are asking that anyone with information about persons who were drinking and having a illegal bonfire call Maui DOCARE office at 873-3990.

Ward said DLNR staff will remove the large amount of party trash, empty alcohol bottles and burned materials as soon as possible.  Authorities say staff have had to extinguish these types of smoldering pits on more than one occasion.

“If the fire had spread it could have caused more damage to the forest reserve or nearby residences,” said Ward. “DLNR asks that all users of public lands respect and take care of them.”

DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement sent an officer up this morning to investigate an abandoned vehicle on the side of the road. The car is located 2.6 miles up on Kula Forest Reserve Access Road. County police had documented an accident when a juvenile male in the vehicle went off the side of the road and hit a concrete culvert.

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