Governor Josh Green, M.D. signed into law, Act 72 (HB1183), establishing a path toward mitigating overtourism impacts on state parks. The new law exempts nonprofit parking lot and concession operators from bidding requirements for operating at certain state parks.
Governor Green chose to sign the bill at Hāʻena State Park, as it has been one of the state’s busiest state parks, resulting in overcrowding, degradation of resources, safety hazards and impacts to the natural environment.
“It is my great pleasure to sign this bill at Hāʻena State Park, which is so beautiful and has immense historical and cultural importance to our state and the Hāʻena community,” said Governor Green in a news release. “I commend Representative Nadine Nakamura, lead introducer of this bill, for her leadership in furthering the effort to preserve the beauty of our islands.”
“I further want to extend my gratitude to Hui Makaʻāinana o Makana, for the advocacy and hard work of its members over the years. Its stewardship of Hāʻena and engagement with government is exactly the kind of effort that sets an example for other concerned community organizations around our state.”
The exemption under this bill would apply only to certain operations supported by nonprofit corporations within state parks, that are designated by the Board of Land and Natural Resources as environmentally, culturally, historically, or operationally unique. The exemption is modeled after the existing exemption in state law for certain county zoos, botanical gardens, and county parks.
Cooperative agreements for stewardship and management with private partners, including nonprofit organizations, have shown to be an effective management tool to increase the quality of experience and resource protection in state parks, according to Gov. Green.
State leaders say the new law solidifies future management of state parks through community partnerships, to protect natural and cultural resources and enhance the quality of experience of visitors and residents statewide.
Act 72 took effect upon Governor Green’s signature on Thursday.