Updated: November 29, 2023
Eighteen people were cited Saturday night for being in a closed area, in violation of Ka‘ena Point State Park closure hours on Oʻahu; and five others were cited for not having special access permits, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
In addition one man was cited for a protected species violation, as he had speared one under-sized kala. All 24 people who were cited have court appearances in the next month.
Department officials say a digital sign at the entrance to the Mokuleia Section (north shore) of the park has illuminated Memorial Day weekend closure hours since Thursday night.
DLNR announced last week that due to human impacts on the natural resources at Ka‘ena, it would enforce park hours during the holiday weekend; closed from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The citations were issued by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. Officers in trucks and on all-terrain vehicles began contacting people on the beach and on the roads an hour before Saturday night’s closing. People began packing up their coolers, beach chairs, and shade structures and most left in time, according to a department news release.
Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator said, “Ka‘ena Point State Park, both the Mokuliea and the Keawa’ula/Makua sections, represent truly the last, large, and wild coastal environment on O‘ahu. It is a valued resource for people to enjoy, but equally significant it is a sanctuary for native birds and mammals who need additional protection when so many people are visiting, like we’re seeing this weekend.”
Earlier in the day, DSP Interpretive Technician, Lelsey McPherson made her rounds, keeping an eye out for any close interactions between people and monk seals. When mother seals and their pups came out of the ocean, she asked people to move back.
“One day during the current pupping season we had 16 monk seals on Ka‘ena Point beaches. Other than one fenced-off area that seals frequent, we don’t have the ability to have people guarding them 24-hours a day like has happened in Waikīkī.”
In addition to threats to protected species, like monk seals, illegal bonfires have left large nails littering the sand, off-road vehicle travel has damaged vegetation and created new erosion paths, and large parties have resulted in lots of litter being left in the park, according to department reports.
The nighttime closures of the Mokulē‘ia Section continue through Memorial Day. At the Keawa‘ula Section of Ka‘ena Point State Park, on O‘ahu’s west side, nighttime closures have been in effect for numerous years.