Maui Discussion

Entry and Parking Fees at Waiʻānapanapa State Park Expected to Begin in February

January 18, 2021, 11:03 AM HST
* Updated January 24, 7:34 AM
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Waiʻānapanapa. File photo by Wendy Osher.

A reservation system is expected to begin at East Maui’s Waiʻānapanapa State Park in the second or third week of February according to state leaders who provided an update during a weekend Zoom meeting.

The information was shared during a community update on the East Maui Reservation System Project hosted by Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (District 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe) on Saturday night.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources posted planned fees on their website which include the following:

Entrance Fee• Residents = Free w/Hawaii ID or Drivers Lic.
• Non-Residents = $5.00 per person
Parking FeesNon Commercial Vehicles
• Residents = Free w/Hawaii ID or Drivers Lic.
• Non-Residents = $10 per vehicle
Commercial PUC Vehicles
• 1-7 passenger vehicles: $25
• 8-25 passenger vehicles: $50
• 26+ passenger vehicles: $90

Beginnings of the idea surfaced in June, when discussion was focused on traffic management in East Maui.

“This project got rolling back over the summer when the road was still closed,” said Jacob Aki, Director of Communications for the Hawaiʻi State Senate. At the time, traffic was limited on the Hāna Highway to area residents only in an effort to to provide an added layer of protection to the isolated community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sen. English said that when the road was shut down, he kept hearing from people that wanted to avoid a return to over tourism and the impact of thousands of rental cars on the road.

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“When we shut down the road, we kept on hearing from people ‘We don’t want to go back to what it was.’ In other words everybody just coming, thousands of cars a day. So we took that to heart and started looking at when it does open up again, we have to put something in place to change from what it was,” said Sen. English.

Mayumi Nakamura and her business partner Mike Birt of Ascent Group in Seattle, launched a “beta prototype” of the registration system at MauiWayfinding.com. The two discussed the plans, noting that Republic Parking will manage entry into the park with the REEF network providing an interface for access via smartphones.

The site would connect to reservation system where QR codes would be used. Discussion also touched upon service upgrades in East Maui, which currently has limited internet access in many rural areas. Developers say the REEF system to scan the QR codes for parking/enry does not require it to be online at the time of service, and codes can be uploaded at the end of the day by the company if needed.

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The site will also be able to sell items like food truck lunches, local banana bread and gifts, according to Mayumi Nakamura. The site also gives users the ability to establish an itinerary so that “people won’t just show up hoping to go to places and walk into private properties.”

Site developers say the intent is also to share stories with tourists “who will have a better experience and get the education they need” when traveling to East Maui.

“The idea is to get one payment on one side (where) they come in and scan their code and pick up things; but we’re also managing time. So you have a time frame to be in Waiʻānapanapa, a certain time to pick up your lunch, a certain time to pick up your merchandise, which then helps us to manage the traffic flow,” said Sen. English.

The full meeting is available for viewing here.

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