State considers entry fees at ‘Iao State Park

June 28, 2010, 2:04 PM HST · Updated June 29, 5:48 AM
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The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold a public information meeting on Thursday July 1, 2010 on Maui to explain plans by the Division of State Parks to begin charging entry fees for non-residents and commercial tour vehicles going to ‘Iao Valley State Monument.

File photo by Wendy Osher. Iao Valley.

The meeting runs from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Maui Waena Intermediate School, 795 ‘Onehe‘e Street, in Kahului.

“Funding for operation and maintenance of state recreational facilities such as parks, small boat harbors and forest trails has been drastically reduced in the current biennium budget.  To ensure that these areas can be cared for and remain open, the Department is moving forward with its Recreational Renaissance plan, which will generate new revenues to offset the cost of managing them,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

“Through implementation of small entry or parking fees for non-resident visitors to high traffic parks, we can apply revenues to repairs and maintenance to help the park system become more self-sufficient,” Thielen said.

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At the Maui meeting, State Parks staff will explain that DLNR is only charging out-of-state visitors and commercial tour companies, and how the fees will be structured. In April, the Parks division received a proposal for parking management of ‘Iao Valley State Monument on Maui.  Staff is currently reviewing the proposal. Implementing fees for non-residents at ‘Iao Valley will begin once a revocable permit is finalized for a private sector parking company to manage the fee collection.  

The State Office of Tourism Liaison will also coordinate a meeting with State Parks staff and the commercial ground transportation tour companies on Maui.

In fall 2009, the Hawai‘i Business Roundtable asked residents their opinion on specific measures to either raise taxes or reduce services at state facilities.  The survey found that a majority of 58% of respondents favored charging entrance or parking fees to State Parks but exempting residents from the fees.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources authorized the Division of State Parks to set either parking fees or entry fees (but not both at the same location)  at specific state park locations across the state. The Parks division identified parks with high volume non-resident traffic to implement either parking or entry fees.  

Currently, an entry fee is charged at Diamond Head State Monument and in March, a new parking fee for non-Hawaii residents began at Nu‘uanu Pali State Wayside.

Other parks identified for future implementation of a non-resident entry or parking fee include, Akaka Falls and Hapuna on Hawai‘i Island; Ha‘ena and Kokee/Waimea on Kaua‘i; and Makena on Maui.  Prior to implementation of a non-resident fee collection process, the Division of State Parks will host a community meeting in each area with the public and the commercial tour industry.  

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