State Parks Officials Report Compliance with Closures on O‘ahu
No citations were issued by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources on the first day of closures of all State Parks and beaches on O‘ahu. Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement did not cite anyone for violating COVID-19 emergency rules. They did however warn multiple kayakers, park loungers and crab catchers.
This is in contrast to the 200-plus citations issued by Honolulu police. Hawaii News Now reports that the majority of HPD citations were in the Waikīkī area.
DOCARE Supervisor John Silberstein patrolled from Waimānalo to the North shore, where he and another officer joined a team who had been monitoring activity at Ka‘ena Point State Park.
Earlier in the week, prior to the announcement of state and county parks closures, a social media post had promoted a bonfire party for the Mokuleia section of the park. State crews set up barricades in the middle of the road near Dillingham Airfield which blocked vehicles from traveling further west into the park. State officials say this “proactive step, along with wide-spread publicity about the closures, are believed to have stopped the party.”
Silberstein said, “Most people are paying attention. They realize that we’re all in this together and that the closures are necessary to prevent the large group gatherings that had become common on beaches and in parks across O‘ahu.”
State and county leaders agreed to close parks on O‘ahu amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. Under the latest rules and orders, the public is only able to traverse those sites to get to the ocean for approved activities.
Highlights of the Saturday afternoon DOCARE patrols include:
- At the popular Makapu‘u Lighthouse Trail at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, no one was visible on the trail, though four cars were parked along the highway, suggesting a few people snuck in.
- 10 kayakers were warned earlier in the day by DOCARE officers after they had landed on Flat Island (Popoiʻa) off Kailua Beach. Later officers spotted at least one additional kayaker who had also landed on the tiny islet.
- While looking for anyone who may have landed at the Mokulua Islands off Lanikai Beach, several people lounging on the beach were asked to leave.
- At Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park, a group of teens fishing for crabs were advised to leave. A man resting in the park was also advised of the rules and left.
- No boats were visible at the Ahu o Laka sandbar in Kāneʻohe Bay. It is believed rough ocean conditions may have contributed to this lack of activity.
- Five men, who had walked to the beach at Mālaekahana State Recreation Area near Lāʻie, were asked to leave the park.
Silberstein said, “We hope over the next three weeks (the current duration of the closures), people will continue to abide by the rules and stay out of our State Parks and not loiter on the beach. We’re pleased we didn’t have to write any citations or arrest anyone. I think most people realize this is a small, temporary sacrifice to make for the overall health and safety of our entire community.”