Exclusive Residences, Black Sand Beach

Black Sand at Makena!

A community of only seven luxury residences bordering the nature preserve of Pu'u Ho'olai and the 15 th Fairway of Makena South Golf course.

5500 Makena Road at Makena State Park

Most people have no idea just what has happened to Makena State Park under the auspices of the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. In the 1977 Proposed Master Plan for Makena State Park the Pu'u Ola'i was bounded by land and water on all sides.

Black Sand beach bounded the area to the North west with Big Beach jutting to the South East. Little Beach sat on the ocean side of the cinder cone isolated seemingly from the rest of Maui and the rest of the world. An idyllic place that became known world wide as a nude beach. A beach so special that it was ranked as the number one such beach in the world by some authorities.

Makena State Park was conceptualized as an area that should be left in its natural state with an eye to preserving the natural and historical cultural amenities of the region.

One such feature was the fish pond in the park. A fish pond for the Alihi that was unlike the other fish ponds in the area. The other ponds were walls of rocks that isolated portions of ocean adjacent to the shore. Keeping the fish from swimming away with ocean water surging through the rock openings in the wall.

The Makena park pond was truly unique. The area was set back behind the dunes and quite significantly isolated from the ocean. The preservation of this pond and any other wetland requires exercising extreme care of the upland area surrounding the pond. Generally development would be discouraged adjacent to the pond and sewage and excess and unnatural runoff would be diverted from the area. The Makena Park Plan took these things into account and set the boundaries of the proposed park such that the crucial areas of the watershed lay within the park boundary. Under even minimal stewardship of the resource the area would be maintained in a dynamic natural state.




This aerial photograph posted at the entrance to the complex clearly shows the impact of the development on Makena State Park. The visual pollution is overwhelming. The sign blatantly suggest that the residences are "bordering the nature preserve of Pu'u Ho'olai" when in fact the houses are within the park as proposed in 1977. In the original plan the area was to be left in a natural state with camping sites throughout the area. In the upper right corner of the development the water falls listed as the major feature in the Department of Land and Natural Resources pamphlet Hawai'i State Parks, A Visitor's Guide to Park Resources and Recreational Opportunities. Makena State Parks only listed Park Resources is waterfalls. Apparently these have been contained in the culverts at the top of the hill.

Prospective buyer's should know that this property is essential to maintain the visual and functional integrity of the Master Park Plan. Friends of Makena State Park is in the process of putting together the financial resources necessary to acquire the property. The State of Hawaii is encouraged to begin condemnation proceedings so that further destruction to this unique area is not lost. In the process of removing the current structures an exhaustive archeological exploration will be conducted to better understand the role of the fish pond in the area.


Access to the Black Sands portion of Makena State Park has been closed since October 15, 2006. The stated reason is that the rock slides near the ocean are a hazard to the visiting public. The sign announcing this danger has been up for some time. It is rather obvious that the closure is intended to conceal from the public the rape of Makena State Park.

Another in your face aspect of this gated community is the night light over the entrance gate. A powerful Halogen work light points to the road way. The approaching motorist's night vision is seriously impaired. Since numerous deer inhabit the area the number of car deer crashes have gone up dramatically in the last two years.

Recently on the night of January 26, 2007 a two car head on crash occurred just east to the gate. Some people believe the loss of night vision to the driver of the East bound car contributed to placing the car over the center line and into the path of the second car.

The marvelous Black Sand Beach is composed of red sand from the adjacent cinder cone mixed with charcoal. Yes, charcoal. The product of burning hundreds of pallets over the years. Walk the beach barefoot and your feet take on the color of the beach. When the residents of the luxury homes flush their toilets the effluents have pretty much at straight shot to the aquifer that feeds the adjacent fish pond and the ocean. Algae blooms are already visible in the fish pond and the reef appears to be undergoing a change from the nutrients.



Daniel S. Quinn in a letter dated May 15, 2007 explains the closure of Black Sand Beach since Oct 15, 2006 thus: “The Black Sand Beach area has been determined to be unsafe due to cracks on the edges of Pu’u Ola’i caused by the earthquake of October, 2006. This area has been closed since that time for public safety reasons We will be seeking the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ approval to post new warning and danger signs in this area . Once this has been done,
a portion of the Black Sand Beach section of the park will be reopened, with signage posted to protect the public from venturing into unsafe areas.”


Sonny Vic inspects the warning sign which has been in place shortly after the earthquake of October 15, 2006. Dan Quinn states that they are still waiting on clearance from the Board of the Department of Land and Natural Resources for approval of signing. This sort of verbal non sense has resulted in a request for his dismissal in a letter to the governor the end of July.

Tertiary treated sewage water is dumped into concrete shells assuring unimpeded intrusion into the groundwater supply. Each house has its own such drainage. This arrangement precludes tying into a sewer system. The groundwater flows very directly to the ocean. The effluents are essentially the same as those in infection wells talked about by biologist Russel Sparks in a Maui News article on Invasive Algae.

"Three primary non-native algae have been proliferating on the reefs off Kihei and Maalaea where there are injection wells. The invasive algae also are blooming off Kahului and West Maui. They are:

 Acanthophora spicifera, a red seaweed with cylindrical branches covered with small spinelike branches. It varies in height between 1 and 8 inches.

 Hypnea musciformis, a brown seaweed that was first brought in for possible commercial use and “escaped” into island waters, has cylindrical branches and grows in clumps or is loosely intertwined. It can grow up to 8 inches tall and is about a quarter-inch in diameter.

Sparks said Hypnea can double in size in two days. During heavy blooms, thousands of pounds wash up on beaches where Maui County has had to contract for regular cleanups.

 Ulva, or sea lettuce, is a thin green seaweed with wide blades. It is 4 to 6 inches wide at its base, tapering upward to less than an inch wide at its tip. It can grow nearly a yard long."

Sonny Vic examines the fish pond and surrounding area stripped of vegetation which captured some of the nutrients added to the golf course above the park. Note the irrigation system used to water the new plantings contrary to the consultant report on how to manage the restoration.

Monk Seal Sanctuary

Monk Seals are known to frequent Black Sands Beach.  The noise of construction was thought to be a contributing factor in RH 44 deciding to give birth on Moloki. She had been seen on the beach in July 2006.


Solutions: eminent domain and condemnation

When acquired the superstructures of the houses should be carefully deconstructed and the materials made available to Housing for Humanity.

Non indigenous plants should be removed and replaced with dry land species as per the consultant report.

Concrete work needs to be removed and an effort made to reestablish the character of the lava flow. The surface should be excavated sufficiently to get below the material that has been brought in and should be carefully done to a greater depth to determine archaeological materials.

Cap the seven drainage columns

Stop the introduction of fertilizer on the site turn off and remove irrigation plant drought tolerant vegetation as called for in the consultants report on the entire area within the park that was stripped of vegetation.


The word from Dan Quinn was that Black Sand would only be reopened with signage approved by the Board of the Department of Land and Natural Resources after the October 15, 2006 earthquake. Ten months later it appears that Black Sand may open on August 22, 2007

Workman were observed placing the new signs in the park the morning of August 21, 2007.

Previously no mention was made of the boulder that fell on the trail along Big Beach to Little Beach. This bould was not even mentioned in the official earthquake report. But no matter. At least four signs are being used to warn the park visitor of this very high risk situation. One so serious that park officials choose to ignore it until now.

 Over at Black Sand Beach the sign posted shortly after the earthquake was taken down and replaced with two apparently approved signs shown.

This is the previously posted sign which apparently was not satisfactory. It clearly states on the bottom of the sign that it is a sign of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The DLNR has the capabilities to make its own signs and this one was done in house. Interesting the new approved signs lack any indication of the authority under which they are produced. A small tag on the back indicates they are the product of Maui Signs.

Where one sign that appeared to be perfectly adequate as a warning there have now been ten to twelve additional signs added to the park.


Addresses and other information on the current stewards of Makena.

Friends of Makena State Park

 Friends of Makena State Park was formally formed in 2003 to assist the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources in the stewardship of  Makena State Park.

Consider a contribution to Doctor Leisure's Friends of Makena State Park  if you want to help defray the cost of this site and the efforts to save Makena State Park and the adjacent lands from unneeded and unwanted development.  Twenty dollars pays for the gasoline necessary to get Dr. Leisure to the park for five days. Forty dollars pays for the ink cartridge for the printer. Twenty five dollars covers the cost of the web site for one month.

Membership is open to anyone interested in the stewardship of  the unique natural resource that constitutes Makena State Park situated on the island of Maui in the Hawai'i 'i Islands. The world famous nude beach known as Little Beach is contiguous to Makena State Park.

To declare your membership and to receive the electronic newsletter of Dr. Leisure's Friends of Makena State Park click this link: LittleBeachMaui-subscribe@topica.com  and send a blank email.

Dr. Leisure's Friends of Makena State Park
PO Box 1137
Kihei, HI 96753

--Dr. George R. Harker can be reached by email at drleisure1@aol.com.

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Copyright 2007, Dr. Leisure

©Copyright 2007 Dr. Leisure. All rights reserved.

Dr Leisure