Save Kokee Meeting

SOURCE: Ken Taylor (
SUBHEAD: Kokee Advisory Council meeting on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at County Council Chambers at 5:30 pm.  

By Pumehana on June 26 2009 for Save Kokee -

Image above: Sign at entrance to Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow in Kokee. From

 If you can't attend a meeting, please send in a testimony to Even if it is only one line that states your feelings. mahalo. E`O People of Kaua`i! Koke`e and Waimea Canyon State Parks needs you to listen to your hearts and speak your mind! The next Koke`e Advisory Council meeting will be held on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at the Kaua`i County Council Chambers at 5:30 pm. It is time to give public testimony AGAIN because the DLNR’s final version of the Master Plan does not reflect the majority consensus of the people (see below). This meeting is very important-- the Koke`e Advisory Council needs to hear from the community as the Council is our voice. If you are unable to attend, please let the Koke`e Advisory Council members know your thoughts at More information is at their website at

When the DLNR starts paving and infringing on the natural landscape, we can never go back to the simple beauty of these beloved places. The Final Master Plan for Koke`e and Waimea Canyon State Parks, entitled the Enhanced Park Facilities Development Plan,” as proposed by DLNR and its consultant, R. M. Towill, includes in its vision and stated objectives: Objectives: “Creating a destination” that “enhances the wildland experience”;  “Enhancing park identity” through signage;  “Optimizing” recreational opportunities;

“Focusing development at lookouts and along the roadway corridor between Pu`u ka Pele and Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow”;  “Constructing a visitors center”;  “Developing ‘satellite’ interpretive facilities at lookouts and trail hubs”;  “Developing tours around themes”;  “Expanding concession and management leases”;  “Developing the lodge area as a ‘main street’.. with new [and separate] Park HQ, Lodge and Education Center buildings... served by storefront parking”;  “Establishing a revenue enhancement program including entry fee and improved concession facilities at lookouts and [at] Kanaloahuluhulu [meadow];”  Achieving “sustainable operations with 35% of park revenues.” Some of the specific plans include:  

Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow: 
 (Referred to in plan as “Revenue Generation Center”)  Overall, probable demolition of all existing buildings at the meadow and replacement;  Development of a “lodge complex” with additional short-term rentals “to meet existing demand” (-- also suggests new short-term rental rooms may be incorporated into existing park buildings at the meadow);  Development of the lodge area as a “main street” layout  Removal of the historic park headquarters building at the entrance to the meadow and development of new park headquarters located closer to the lodge;  Development of a new “Park Visitor Service Center” at the meadow area, along with a new or renovated lodge and museum (part of the main street complex), and “improved” parking;  Development of interpretive program for new Visitor Service Center;  Realignment of road entrance to direct cars to the commercial area, lodge and museum;  The current lodge manager’s house (“Ranger Station”) to be used by Division of State Parks staff.  

Waimea Canyon:
 Lookout “provides the setting for visitor amenities”;  Development of new, permanent Visitor Information and Concession building at the lookout viewpoint, to include: o Souvenir and snack concession o interpretive displays o information center o restrooms  Development of new, “highly developed” parking lot and bus staging area below existing parking lot using “robust” materials to “signal to the visitor the character of the experience they are entering.”

Kalalau Lookout:
Redesign lookout (to take “full advantage of the sweeping views along the cliff face”) and lookout guardrails (currently underway);  Develop gateway feature with signage;  Expand parking lot (currently underway)  Interpretive program  Note that in the 2004 master plan, the road from the meadow to Kalalau lookout was to be widened to accommodate full-size tour buses. This language has been removed from the 2009 version of the master plan, but the widening of the road to 20’ is currently underway.  

Lower Elevation Lookouts:
The plan provides for transfer of Waimea Canyon Road (and portions of Koke`e Road) from Department of Transportation to Division of State Parks from Koke`e down to Waimea town, to permit collection of a fee as well as development of lookouts. Division of State Parks will assume responsibility for maintaining the entire length of the roadway.  Nine (9) sites are identified between mile marker 1.1 and 6.4 along Waimea Canyon Road as “promising” for development.  Development of these new lower elevation lookouts (from Waimea town up to mile 6.4) are to feature “typical” amenities such as restrooms, ADA accessible pathways, turnout, interpretive signage, etc.  

Informational and interpretive signage throughout the trail system to orient and educate hikers, including ‘satellite’ interpretive facilities at trail hubs;  New facilities at Water Tank and Kaluapuhi trailheads with parking lots with capacity for 45 and 50 cars, respectively, directional signage and toilets.  Suggests that “elevated canopy trails in the forest” be considered.

 Entry Fee Station:
 Considered “essential component” of master plan;
Additional stated purpose (added in 2009 master plan): the fee station will “remind visitors they are entering sacred ground”;   Located at the 6.9 mile mark at the junction of Koke`e Road (from Kekaha) and Waimea Canyon Road (from Waimea);  Fee station is positioned between one incoming and two exiting travel lanes; Additional development on and within the roadway to accommodate the fee station: o One lane exiting downhill; o A raised median with crash barriers to accommodate station; o Entry Fee Station of a minimum of 100 sf (10’ x 10’); o Two incoming lanes heading uphill, one with card-activated gate for residents and park staff; o Development of an additional 550 sf building at roadside; o Parking lot with a minimum of 4 parking spaces at roadside, including ADA van-accessible space and adequate distance for vehicles backing out; o Staffed by one uniformed DSP staff; o Hours TBD, daylight hours  Master Plan executive summary shows that the revenue generated by Koke`e currently exceeds its operating expenses without additional fees;  Fee collected at Koke`e entry fee station will go to DLNR for statewide purposes;

 For State Parks to collect a fee, the Department of Transportation (currently maintaining the road) must transfer Waimea Canyon Road to the Division of State Parks. o Transfer of the road is a prerequisite to park entry fee station and entry fee program as DOT does not permit DSP to collect a fee on a state road. o Division of State Parks must then take over maintenance and control of the road from Waimea town all the way up the mountain.

See also:

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