Pokémon Go Hunters Wander Into Sensitive Heiau

July 16, 2016, 8:06 AM HST · Updated July 16, 8:13 AM
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Pokémon Go. Maui Now image.

Pokémon Go. Maui Now image.

Two people searching for augmented reality Pokémon Go figures wandered into a sensitive heiau on Kauaʻi where a cultural protocol was underway, according to officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

An employee with the Division of State Parks reported the incident, prompting the issuance of tips from the department encouraging good outdoor ethics as the Pokémon Go craze impacts Hawaiʻi.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Unfortunately, we are quickly seeing unintended consequences of this new application by Google, in the outdoor issues that the hunt for Pokémon characters via digital devices can create, for both cultural and natural resources here in Hawai’i and elsewhere.”

In the first week since the release of Pokémon Go, the media has reported on two men walking off a cliff in California while using the app.

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DLNR officials say this increases public safety and unauthorized access problems for local people and visitors venturing into state parks, onto trails and onto beaches, when paying attention to electronics rather than trails and signs.

Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator issued the following reminders while heading into the outdoors:

Be safe.  Use electronic devices responsibly and in emergencies to call for help. Distracted hiking, like distracted driving, can lead to accidents.

Stay on designated trails.  Follow all signs and closures.  Do not trespass, or enter natural or cultural areas where access is prohibited.

Carry out what you carry in.  Leave no trace.

“We want and encourage people to enjoy all of the outstanding natural and cultural resources  Hawai’i has to offer.  Given the release of Pokémon Go, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that these resources can and should be enjoyed in a pono way,” Case said.

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