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LETTER TO GOVERNOR LINDAL LINGLE REGARDING LACK OF LIFE GUARDS, BLACK SAND BEACH CLOSING, BEACH ACCESS AND OTHER ISSUES
JULY 30, 2007
 
 

Dr. George R. Harker
Dr. Leisure’s Friends of Makena State Park
P.O. Box 1137
Kihei, HI 96753
DrLeisure1@aol.com
808-250-4160

Honorable Governor Linda Lingle
Executive Chambers
State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
Phone: 808-586-0034
Fax: 808-586-0006

July 30, 2007

Dear Governor Lingle:

This last May the legislature approved funding for lifeguards at Makena State Park on the order
of $406,000. The money became available on July 1, 2007.

As I have indicated in the past various state park officials have not been supportive of this effort.
To my knowledge the money was not even requested in the annual budget process by the parks
division of the DLNR. You have indicated that I have been mistaken in my beliefs regarding
park administrators as impediments to the process of obtaining funding and lifeguards at
Makena.

The word being circulated to all involved in this process of securing lifeguards for the park is
that they will not be available until January or February of 2008, if then. Danial Quinn in
collaboration with Phil Ohta have decided that no guards should be in place until new guards
have been hired and trained and that all the necessary equipment for them to function has been
acquired.

A very strange position given that the last time lifeguards were at Makena they had only a quad
and themselves to do the job. I know you are more familiar with the details of that operation
since you were the Mayor of Maui at the time. And the current Mayor, Charmaine Tavaris  was
head of the Recreation and Parks Department and more directly in charge of the lifeguards as
part of your administration.

I have been working on issues associated with Makena State Park from 1987. I know that this
incompetence has a long history in the DLNR. I have listed some other issues that are currently
going on with the State Park. There is a very definite need for change. Both Danial Quinn and
Phil Ohta need to be removed from these positions before their incompetence leads to the death
and injury of any more individuals. They have provided little if any stewardship with regard to
the management of Makena State Park. They have been an impediment to the development of
this park when they ought to have been the prime movers in establishing even basic services.

Another action that needs to be rectified, Dan Quinn and Phil Ohta have collaborated on closing
the Black Sand portion of the park since the October 15, 2006 earthquake. The report  Rockfall
Hazard Condition at Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii, dated October 30, 2006 stated, "We
recommend either closing a portion of the Black Sand Beach directly below the mountain to
eliminate rockfall hazards or performing periodic scaling to significantly reduce rockfall hazards
to within tolerable level." (Emphasis added.) No mention is made of closing the entire section of
the park. (This report does not report or assess the rockfall that occurred on the path along Big
Beach heavily traveled by the Little Beach visitor. The three foot or so boulder is still sitting on
the trail today. Obviously there are more up the hill and no warning sign is nearby.)

The reason stated is that they are waiting for approval for signage from the Board of the DLNR.
Signage is in place ocean side at the entry to the part of the affected beach. The Board has met at
least fourteen times since I first heard this excuse and apparently has chosen not to take action or
in all likelihood not even heard of this supposed problem needing their attention.

Quinn's and Ohta's actions of closing the Black Sand Access are in direct contravention of
Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 115 Public Access to Coastal and Inland Recreational
Areas. The complete regulation is posted on the DLNR site and yet goes unheeded.

Beach and ocean access, according to the statute is a fundamental right available twenty-four
hours a day. Yet the two additional beach accesses commonly known as Big Beach 1 and Big
Beach II parking are closed from 7:45 pm to 5 am.  Cars in the lots are ticketed and towed. The
expense is a few hundred dollars. Beach access visitors have been ticket for being in the access
path just fifteen minutes after the designated closing time. It has been considered trespassing for
individuals to be in the access path or on the beach after the posted closing time. This in spite of
the fact that by law beach and ocean access is a fundamental right.

Dan Quinn and Phil Ohta are responsible for the placement of a concessionaire within the park
that has resulted in the loss of two or more concessionaires that had served Makena State Park
situated across the street and adjacent to the park.

Additionally they have place the concessionaires’ lunch wagon in the emergency lane which also
is the "no parking access aisle" associated with handicapped parking. There are no handicapped
toilets in the park although expenditures were made to provide that a few years ago. Concrete
ramps and a handicapped table were installed, but no toilets.

Dan Quinn and Phil Ohta have not objected to private developers acquiring a portion of the 1977
proposed park. Instead they have collaborated with these individuals to remove the vegetation in
a historic fish pond and the surrounding area of the park which had been collecting and removing
nutrient pollutants from the golf courses above the park. The so-called "enhancement" effort has
totally destroyed this natural filtration system and will result in the degradation of the reef
adjacent to the park if not corrected.

Recommendations in Descriptive report on an dislocated wetland at Makena State Park,
Makena, Maui with consideration to wetland enhancement options prepared by WECOS
Consultants, June 11, 2003 were essentially not followed. One example regarding planting of
ground cover: "Irrigation during establishment would alter the soil salinity and pH and thereby
promote invasion by weedy species,..." was not followed. The irrigation has enhanced weedy
species.

It is suggested that the developer plant appropriate native trees, shrubs, and ground cover.
Instead ornamental plants heavily fertilized and watered now contribute to the nutrient rich
runoff that is directly threatening the offshore reef. To add insult to injury the effluents from
each house septic system is discharged into gravel lined columns cut through the lava rock which
drain directly into the groundwater system tied to the adjacent pond. There is no reason that
these effluents can not be discharged into an established sewer system which is nearby.

It is clear that Department of Land and Natural Resources as it is currently staffed is not capable
of managing the resources associated with Makena State Park. It would be a good time to turn
this park over to Maui County by executive order as has been done with other parks in the
county.

Thirty years of gross negligence regarding Makena State Park needs to end. This valuable
resources should be turned over to the people of Maui who would  utilize this resource twenty-
four hours a day if it were made available to them as required by state law.

Your immediate attention to this matter is urgently requested. I believe the state should be held
liable for any damages incurred by beach users because lifeguards were not in place at Makena
State park as of July 1, 2007.
 

Sincerely,
 
 
 
 

George R. Harker

cc

Chairperson - Laura H. Thielen, State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources
Board Members of the Department of Land and Natural Resources on June 20, 2007
Laura H. Thielen, Chairperson
Taryn R. Schuman, O`ahu Member (Term: 7/01/05 - 6/30/09)
Robert Pacheco Hawai`i Member Interim Appointment
Ron Agor Kaua`i Member (Term: 7/01/04 - 6/30/08)
Jerry Edlao, Maui Member (Term: 5/02/06 - 6/30/09)
Timothy Johns Member-At-Large (Term: 7/01/06 - 6/30/10)
Dr. Samuel M. Gon III   Member-At-Large (Term: 5/02/06 - 6/30/09)

Dan Quinn, Director State Parks,
Phil Ohta, Makena State Park Superintendent,
Randy Awo, Maui branch chief of state Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement.

                          Legislators

JOSEPH "JOE" SOUKI, DISTRICT: 8th (Kahakuloa-Wailuku-Waikapu)
BOB NAKASONE, DISTRICT: 9th (Kahului-Lower Paia)
ANGUS L.K. MCKELVEY, DISTRICT: 10th (West Maui-North Kihei)
JOE BERTRAM III, DISTRICT: 11th (South Maui)
KYLE T. YAMASHITA, DISTRICT: 12th (Upcountry)
MELE CARROLL, DISTRICT: 13th (East Maui-Lanai-Molokai-Kalaupapa-Kahoolawe)
SHAN S. TSUTSUI, District: 4th (Kahakuloa-Wailuku-Waikapu-Kahului-Lower Paia)
ROSALYN "ROZ" BAKER, District: 5th (West Maui-South Maui)
J. KALANI ENGLISH, District: 6th (Upcountry-East Maui-Lanai-Molokai-Kahoolawe)

                         County of Maui
 Mayor Charmaine Tavares , ,

Maui County Council Members 2007
Council Chair  G. Riki Hokama
Council Vice-Chair  Danny A. Mateo
Councilmember  Michelle Anderson
Councilmember  Gladys Coelho Baisa
Councilmember  Jo Anne Johnson
Councilmember  Bill Kauakea Medeiros
Councilmember  Michael J. Molina
Councilmember  Joseph Pontanilla
Councilmember  Michael P. Victorino

Media Contacts
The Maui News,
The Honolulu Advertiser,
Star Bulletin,
Haleakala Times,
Maui Weekly,
Maui Time Weekly,
 
 


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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
808-250-4160
 
 
 

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

Article may be reproduced with appropriate credit: drleisure.com
 
 
 

Copyright 2007, Dr. Leisure

©Copyright 2006 Dr. Leisure. All rights reserved.
 
 

Dr Leisure