Maui’s Kepaniwai Park at ʻĪao reopened today to increased visitor and residential traffic, after seven month closure.
Many took the opportunity to explore the riverbed and park grounds, which looked slightly different after a severe flood in September, 2016  widened the river and took out a chunk of the pre-existing parking lot.
Maui County Communications Director Rod Antone tells Maui Now, “Public Works did had a great plan to use the material that came down in the storm to help repair the damage. It’s kind of like the problem was our solution.”
He explained that much of the work involved securing a section along the river saying, “What was once part of the parking lot, is now a stable and secure bed of boulders and large river rocks.”
County officials say they expect activity at the park to return to normal. “Most of the problems that we were having was people were parking on the bridge and blocking access to the neighborhood across the park. I think all of those problems are gone now.”
Antone said he is glad that all County departments managed to get the work done and get the park reopened. He said he didn’t realize how many people used the park until they had to close it down.
Park hours at Kepaniwai are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Park pavilions and the lower restroom are now open.
He did remind the public that although the County’s Kepaniwai Park is open, the ʻĪao Valley State Monument remains closed  at the upper elevation of the Valley while crews continue damage assessments, clean-up and repairs. State officials have said that they plan to reopen the state facility to modified access sometime this summer .
A website posting by the State Division of Land and Natural Resources reminds the public that anyone found within the closed State park is in violation of HAR 13-146-4 , which is a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.