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Waiʻānapanapa Online Reservations Start March 1

Waiʻānapanapa. Photo by Wendy Osher.

All visitors and commercial operators will need to make reservations to enter Waiʻānapanapa State Park in East Maui, beginning on March 1, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced. 

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

Before the COVID-19 pandemic the popular park, located near the end of the famous Hāna Highway in East Maui, had seen increased crowding and commercial tours. State officials say this impacted the adjacent rural community and overall visitor experiences. 

New fees for entry and parking will also be in effect when the reservation system is launched. Entry and parking for Hawaiʻi residents will still be free. 

Waiʻānapanapa State Park fees effective March 1, 2021: 

Out-of-State visitors 

  • Parking: $10.00 
  • Walk-in, bike-in or drop-off entry: $5.00 per person 
  • Visitors making parking reservations will be required to select a time slot, to spread out visitation across the day. 

Commercial (PUC) vehicle parking slots: 

  • 1-7 Passenger Vehicle: $25 
  • 8-25 Passenger vehicle: $50 

Wai’ānapanapa, which means glistening waters, with Pā‘iloa its black sand beach, will be the second state park in Hawaiʻi to require reservations. It is the first to integrate commercial tours into its reservation system.

This follows the implementation of the Hāʻena State Park reservation system, which was implemented after the 2018 flood. Officials at DLNR say it is largely credited with “bringing serenity back” to one of the most impacted regions of the state by implementing a reservation and shuttle system and establishing limits on the number of daily visitors.

At Wai’ānapanapa, like at Hāʻena on Kaua‘i,  parking spaces will be held back to accommodate Hawai‘i residents. 

“This balances State Park’s critical need for revenue with the commercial tours paying a fair rate for their use of the park. It enables us to adjust patronage numbers to reduce crowding and impacts on the sensitive resources of the park,” said DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “Also, and just as important, we can reduce the impact on our neighbors. As a former resident of Hāna, living right next to Wai’ānapanapa, it feels good to support a process that will help my former neighbors. Quality over quantity is our new target in management,” Cottrell added. 

Initially, reservations will be taken two weeks in advance due to continuing uncertainties about COVID-19 rules and restrictions. This window will be extended over time. Reservations must be made in advance and no same-day reservations there will be available. 

“This new reservation system for Waiʻānapanapa State Park is critical to a larger effort to better manage traffic flow coming into East Maui,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English, whose district encompasses the area around Waiʻānapanapa . “This is a new way to better manage the impacts of tourism on our local communities and I look forward to working with DLNR to implement these types of systems in other areas of my district.” 

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2021/02/13/waianapanapa-online-reservations-start-march-1/

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