The Maui News


Tuesday, August 08, 2006 12:32 PM

Closing parks not the answer

One of the most distinctive aspects of Hawaii is the fact that all beaches are open to the public – at least during the daytime. Public access to beaches and shorelines is one of the most treasured legacies of Hawaiian culture, which surely didn’t put dawn-to-dusk limits on their uses.

Beach parks in general and One Loa and Puu Olai beaches at Makena State Park in particular are prime assets for residents and tourists alike, despite the apparent indifference to their worth shown by state and county bureaucrats.

Decades ago, a district supervisor of county parks was notorious for having the best-maintained facilities in the county. He was notorious because his approach to maintaining parks was to do everything in his power to keep the public out of them.

That seems to be the prevalent approach today. Parking lots at county beach parks are being closed at 7 p.m. Last weekend, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources began closing Makena State Park at 6 p.m.

In both cases, the threat of illegal activity, including assaults and robbery, was cited as the reason for the closings. There is no question Maui’s burgeoning population includes more individuals ready to take advantage of lightly policed areas, particularly at night.

Both the county Department of Parks and Recreation and the DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement are being asked to do too much with too few individuals. That is particularly true in the case of the DLNR, which has a dozen or so enforcement officers to cover Maui County’s four islands, including the state parks, forests and the ocean from shoreline to three miles out.

Maintaining safety and security is a legitimate concern. Public access at dawn, during the day and in the evening – if not at night – is an equally legitimate concern. It’s unlikely Maui will ever return to the nights when a person could sleep on a beach without worry from miscreants or authorities, but closing public property for lack of proper management is not the solution.

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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.

Rather than beg one million people to donate a dollar each, I'd like one billionaire (or two or even three) to simply give me a million buck$. You know who you are.

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.

Article may be reproduced with appropriate credit: drleisure.com

Copyright 2006, Dr. Leisure

©Copyright 2006 Dr. Leisure. All rights reserved.

Dr Leisure