Residents want beach access

SUBHEAD: Once again the residents of Kauai are barred from a Poli Hale State Park by the DLNR. 

By Nathan Eagle on 4 January 2009 in The Garden Island News

Image above: Southern end of Polihale State Park looking toward the Pacific Missile Range Facility. Photo courtesy of

[IB Publisher's Note: We have a right to access this sacred site! We wonder what happened to the military's promise to maintain the roads at Polihale when they took over control on the 6,000 acres of the Mana Plain, including the road to the State Park.]

Flooding from heavy rains last month caused damages to a bridge, large holes in the access road and erosion around the water system at Polihale State Park as seen in these photos taken on a state Department of Land and Natural Resources site assessment the week of Decemeber 22md. The closure of Polihale State Park due to damage caused by flooding has irked some Westside residents who want access to the remote beach and surf spot.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks said in a statement on Friday that it is closing Polihale State Park “indefinitely until significant repairs are made to areas of the park that were damaged by recent heavy rains.” “We are asking for the public’s patience and cooperation during this closure,” said Laura Thielen, DLNR chair, in a release. “It is necessary for all vehicles to stay off the roadway to Polihale State Park in order to protect public safety. The park itself is closed and no camping permits are being issued due to the washed out roads.”

Kekaha resident Bruce Pleas said yesterday that there is a viable alternative. “Instead of DLNR sending people out there to make sure you don’t use the park, the solution is to post one personnel at the gate and make sure only residents with four-wheel drive are allowed to pass,” he said. Pleas, an avid surfer, said those familiar with such conditions should be granted access. “Even after the flood we recently had, the road is still in far better condition than it was before the 2006 flooding,” he said.

“It’s even in as good of condition as it was when the sugar cane production company was there. So, my main gripe is why can’t local residents who are familiar with these conditions and who have a specific purpose get out there?” State Sen. Gary Hooser, D-Kauai and Ni‘ihau, said he plans to meet with Thielen tomorrow to learn more about the department’s budget.

“I know that budgets are in very bad condition, but I am hopeful and optimistic that the road will be re-opened soon,” he said yesterday. “I met with the Kaua‘i delegation — Reps. Tokioka, Sagum and Morita — and we briefly discussed the situation and we agreed to work together to support the re-construction that will be involved in the process.” Heavy rains last month caused significant damage to the park’s main entrance road including damage to one of the bridges. Continued use of the road before it dried caused it to further deteriorate, according to the DLNR.

Additionally, the park’s new water system and restroom facilities remain inoperable due to damages sustained by the heavy rains. “Certainly, local residents should be allowed to access their state parks and I think visitors not familiar with the roads or without the proper vehicles, it would be appropriate to discourage them from going down there,” Hooser said. “It could be just a matter of moving boulders and letting local residents through or it could require something greater. DLNR is simply concerned about people’s safety.” With the temporary lack of infrastructure and limited emergency access, the area will remain closed until repairs are made, a DLNR news release states. There were no estimates of when the park might reopen or how much the work might cost, but the DLNR said it will issue regular updates as repairs proceed.

“There are many issues regarding management of the state park system here and we’ll be speaking about that this Monday, all the way from Polihale to Koke‘e to the Napali Coast,” Hooser said. “Even though the budget situation is very distressing right now, we’re going to push as hard as we can to get funds that are available.”


Anonymous said...

Now would be a great time for our Hawaiian Brothers to step up to the plate and fix a simple problem the state will have a horrible time with. They have tendancy to make an Everest out of a molehill.

People I know in the sovereinty movements have access to back hoes and front end loaders. It would only take a few days to do and would greatly incease their credibilty.

When the article first came out it stated Polihale would be closed for a couple of weeks.
Not Bad. The scary word came out a few days later.

"Indefinatly" (that means Forever and a Day in state language). It would take months just to push a suffiecent amount of paper around to determine that something needs to be done.

I've been out there, and there seems to be enough gravel to do most of the job.

I would be more than willing to help out with anything I can.

Another suggestion would be to start an organization to take care of the park (like Hui O Laka is to Kokee).

I would love to help out anyway I can just e-mail me at


Bob Keller

Anonymous said...

I guess nobody likes this idea

Work? Bah Humbug!

Anonymous said...

Aloha-hey, Bob Keller, I like your ideas, sorry I didn't read this blog until Jan. 12. An organization to caretake at Polihale is a great idea for the long term-right now we need to bug ALL the appropriate "officials" to get it open ASAP, not months down the line. Names to call include, but are not limited to: Gov. Lingle, Reps. Sagum, Togioka, and Morita, DLNR Head Laura Thielen, and I would suggest ALL the county council people as well as our new mayor, even though they are county and this is a state park, hey, it's all on Kauai. Remember, most of these folks are actually on our side so I would suggest keeping all correspondence civil and constructive, although there is certainly nothing wrong with passion and urgency!
Mahalo, Andy Johnston

Anonymous said...

Good job to Bruce Pleas and others for choke work done to open Polihale! Once again, just shows that we on Kaua'i can't rely on DLNR or the state to get akamai on what Kaua'i needs to stay pono.


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