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Early Report: Many unprepared as reservation system at Lēʻahi “Diamond Head” launches

An estimated 40% of the people who showed up at the Lēʻahi “Diamond Head” State Monument early this morning did not have reservations, according to early findings reported by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Today, is the first of a new “adaptive management” plan to improve visitor experiences at popular site.

“Before the park gates opened at 6 a.m. a long line of cars stretched from vehicle tunnel all the way to the park entrance at Diamond Head Road. This created a bottleneck at the tunnel as parking control staff on the other side checked the reservation status of people in cars and those walking or bicycling in,” according to a DLNR press release.

  • Diamond Head State Monument (May 12, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.
  • Diamond Head State Monument (May 12, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.
  • Diamond Head State Monument (May 12, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.
  • Diamond Head State Monument (May 12, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.
  • Diamond Head State Monument (May 12, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.
  • Diamond Head State Monument (May 12, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

The reservation system is intended to spread visitation out over the entire day. One day, during the 2019 holiday season, some 6,000-people showed up in the park, a situation DLNR Division of State Parks Interpretive Technician Cassandra Springer described as “like being in a mosh pit.”

“We hope to level the number of people who come throughout the day, especially during the peak hours between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.,” Springer said.

The online system permits people to make reservations for both vehicle and pedestrian entrance, as well as parking at Diamond Head and is required of anyone who does not have a Hawai‘i driver’s license or state-issued ID.

After the initial morning rush to get into the park, after the first hour, state officials say ingress and egress was easy.

Springer said visitors, without reservations who were turned away, “were pretty nice,” with most immediately getting on their phones to make one. However, she said, some were frustrated because this was their final day of vacation and they had hoped to experience the landmark before leaving. State Parks staff directed these individuals to other nearby attractions and hikes.

Based on experience state officials say it’s expected to take months, for everyone to realize Diamond Head is the third unit in the state park system to require reservations.

Kaua‘i’s Hā‘ena State Park was the first with a reservation system, followed by Waiʻānapanapa State Park on Maui. State officials say the reservation systems have improved the quality of visitor experiences and have reduced impacts on adjacent communities and resources.

Despite the efforts of staff from the Division of State Parks and visitor industry partners to spread the word, not everyone, particularly mainland visitors have received the message, according to DLNR. DSP staff were passing out flyers with reservation instructions.

Entrance to all state parks is free to kamaʻāina and no reservations are required for residents, but entry may depend on parking availability. Staff from the Division of State Parks and vendors plan to adapt the system in the coming months as necessary.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/05/12/early-report-many-unprepared-as-reservation-system-at-le%ca%bbahi-diamond-head-launches/

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