POSTED: 22 November 2004 - 7:30pm HST

Petition against gate, fee and expulsion takes off

Gate (in circle) is planned just up from Kekaha & Waimea Road junction - North is to the right

Petition against gate, fee and expulsion takes off
by Juan Wilson on 22 November 2004
All images are from a CD containing the DLNR's Preliminary Kokee Plan

There has been more enthusiasm than we anticipated concerning the petition we circulated at the November 18th meeting at Eleele School. One copy alone, that got to Steve’s Mini Mart, in Kalaheo, had over 300 signatures on attached pages. The petition asks the DLNR to not put up a gate, charge an entrance fee and remove the current community living and sharing cabins there.

Proposed Lower Leval Lookout: North is to left

Bernice Silva, of Kalaheo, has collected several hundred signatures as well. It seems whoever gets a copy, photocopies the petition and passes it along. In the reports I’ve heard hardly anyone reading the petition has failed to sign it. Overwhelmingly, the people of Kauai do not want a plan from the DLNR that includes gates, fees or mass evictions. It’s a deal killer as far as Kauai residents go.

Proposed Waimea Canyon Lookout
: North is up

At the present rate we expect to land over to the state about 1000 signatures in opposition to the gate, fee & expulsion aspects of the Master Plan. One inside source has said that the gate is something the DLNR won’t compromise on. We’ll see.

An interesting comment made by one of the representatives of the DLNR Preliminary Master Plan was that the proposed gate was less a proposal to bar people from entering the Kokee State Park, but was more a provision for monitoring (or controlling) what came out of the park.

Proposed Puu O Kila Lookout: North is up

I presume this meant having DLNR eyes on timber, rare plants, or archeological items being removed from the mountain highlands. Maybe this means that there would no gate check or fee to enter the park but a lane to monitor pickups with tops or tarps, or vans and other commercial vehicles that leave the park.

Proposed Puu Hinahina Lookout: North is up

I’m sure that is a motivation of the DLNR but it is other concerns that dictate they control entry to the park of every member of the public. It begins with counting noses going into the park and ends at some point down the line with a periodically closed gate.

The venal profit motive of the DLNR, regarding gate fees and vacation rentals, is real, but can be justified by eco-elitists as the cost of protecting what we love. The money can be used to fund the programs the county, state and federal government should be doing anyway. Wouldn’t you rather we use public funds to support parks than subsidize a military subcontractor who charges the public exorbitant rates to make lots of money playing on our fears.

Proposed Kokee Museum & Park Administration area

If the DLNR wants to implement a Kokee Master Plan it should listen more attentively to the people who live on Kauai. I will look at the DLNR plan in more detail and report on it as events suggest.

Proposed Kalalau Lookout: North is left

It you want a PDF file of the petition to distribute you can download a file here that is under 50K. Or mail your own comments (testimony), to arrive by December 3, to:

Lauren Tanaka, Division of State Parks
1151 Punchbowl St., Room 310
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

You can call Lauren Tanaka at (808) 587-0293.
Visit the DLNR website at:



DLNR Plan presented with resistance

19 November 2004 - 5:00pm

Kauai residents ask questions at "display stations" of DLNR Preliminary Plan

by Juan Wilson 19 November 2004

The DLRN meeting last night at Eleele School was not a conventional presentation that offered interested people the chance to testify publicly. THe Eleele cafeteria was laid out as several "display stations" each covering a different aspect of the plan; such as "History/Archaeology" or "Park Administration". DLNR "experts" or consultants manned the stations and were there to answer questions about the plan.

People were confused about this format and did not know at first how to engage the DLNR on the issues at hand. It seemed that people came expecting to see a presentation and testify as at a county Planning Meeting. Written testomony was accepted at the meeting but there was no presentation or mike and podium.

The meeting brought out over 100 residents. Many were westsiders and hunters who were not happy with the idea of a gate for fees to enter Kokee State Park. Several other people were concerned with the ate of the community that resides or share cottages in Kokee.

My opinion was that it disarmed the public who seemed to anticipate a more adversarial engagement. The mode of the meeting did not improve the weaknesses of the plan... the reduction of access to the mountains for people who live on Kauai.

We composed a petition and brought several copies to the meeting. It read.


We the undersigned believe the Master PLan for Kokee State Park, as presented by Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR), should not include a guarded gate or require payment of entry fees. We believe that the plan to remove current residents and replace them with short-term tourist rental units is not in the interest of Kauai or her people.

Kokee has always been a place of refuge and refreshment for the people of Kauai. It is a sacred place and source of forest materials needed for many Hawaiian ceremonies and celebrations. Access to Kokee should not be denied by the DLNR out of motivations of fear or profit.


I'm glad we brought along a petition. It gave people who did not know how to address this multi-faced representation of the DLNR something to do to express their opinion.

During the meeting 57 people signed the petition and several people took copies to pass around. It you want a PDF file of the petition to distribute you can download a file here that is under 50K. If you cannot get email or read PDF files we can mail you a Petition you can photocopy and hand out yourself.

It's okay if you missed the meeting. It's okay if you don't want to sign a petition. You can still express your opinion in a letter as written testimony. Get it (or any Petitions you want counted) by December 3, 2004 to...

Lauren Tanaka, Division of State Parks
1151 Punchbowl St., Room 310
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

You can call Lauren Tanaka at (808) 587-0293.
Visit the DLNR website at:



DLNR Master Plan is anti-aloha in spirit!

18 November 2004 - 11:00am

Speak up at the Public Hearing
Thursday, November 18th, 5:00 pm at Eleele School

The Public Trust Bedamned!
by Juan Wilson - 18 November 2004

The State's record at Kokee is dismal. The future will be worse. The DLNR plan for Kokee includes putting up a gate, charging an entry fee, and replacing an existing residential neighborhood with short-term high-rate tourist rentals. All in all, a plan that is anti-aloha.

THE FEE: We all know that the argument that DLNR makes on the necessity of a fee to meet the budgetary needs for improvements to the park is a cynical a misrepresentation.

THE GATE: This DLNR barrier to public land is designed to keep people out of Kokee. The DLNR has many reasons to restrict access to the mountains of Kauai and some important ones are not publicly discussed.

THE RESORT: The existing Kokee residents have been is doing just fine, and unlike what will replace them, they are a real Kauai community; a community that has a vested interest in the health and welfare of the forest that surrounds it. The tourists will benefit only the private hotel subcontractors.

The DLNR plan is unfair to Hawaiian residents...

For tourists, a one-time photo-op at Kalalau Lookout will be worth the price of admission. But for frequent Hawaiian visitors, who have to be frugal at the gas pump, a gate fee to take a casual drive “up country” will simply make Kokee another unaffordable luxury reserved for visitors. The DLNR plan would not be nearly as damaging to the people of Kauai if we had any other way to get to the upper reaches of our island.

The State of Hawaii does not "own" Kokee. The DLNR Has the DLNR appointed itself as a kahuna to set kapu on Hawaiian land?

And let’s not forget the military's influence...

An unspoken ingredient to the DLNR plan is how the military plays a part in Kokee. Let’s not kid ourselves, we know from their role in the PMRF 5000 acre land-grab of the Mana Plain, that the DLNR is in bed with the US military.

Mana and Kokee are now part of US military plans for command and control of the Pacific Rim and keeping the public away from their installations through agencies such as the DLNR is a high priority.

Will we soon need a police security check to hike Kokee like we do to surf "Major's" Bay? The increase of US militarism on Kauai is unwelcome and endangers those who live here.

I though the USA won the cold war against the USSR. Well the joke is on us. The Bush - Lingle style of governing is a prime example Sovietism. They let the bureaucratic entrepreneurs plunder the public trust and run things into the ground. For who? For a clumsy marriage of institutional and corporate self interest.
With this plan the DLNR is not protecting the Kokee environment or acting in the interest of the people of Kauai. It has denied us the beaches, now it denies us the mountains.

"It would seem that the DLNR's staff members and the attorneys they consult have lost sight of the fact that their true constituency is the public and not any particular developer lessee or landowner. Time and again, DLNR rules and regulations seem to be bent to favor the latter and disadvantage the former."

Environment Hawaii -



POSTED: 14 November 2004 - 8:00pm HST

Admission fees for Kokee? No Way!

How much longer will this be free on Kauai?

Speak up at the Public Hearing
Thursday, November 18th, 5:00pm at Eleele School

Admission fees for Kokee? No Way!
by Linda Pascatore 14 November 2004

It looks like the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources), is preparing for another giant rip-off of our public lands. After giving away the rights to 6,000 acres to PMRF (Pacific Missile Range Facility) last spring, now they want to charge Kauai’s people to go to our public park.

The DLNR has hired a private firm, R. M. Towill Corporation, to draft a master plan for Kokee State park. They have now recommended a “remedial improvement” plan. It calls for an entry gate to the park and the charging of fees; improvements to lookouts, roads, trails and picnic areas; and the creation of a new lookout. They also advise that long term leases of cabins be terminated, and possibly using a master lease of 100 residential cabins to a private management company. The plan calls for building a new visitor center and a new baseyard, and relocating the current park headquarters for use as an entry gate. The estimated cost of the recommended remedial improvement plan is $9.6 to $12.1 million dollars, over 20 years.

We strongly oppose the establishment of an entry gate and the charging of fees for Kokee State Park. Residents of Kauai should continue to have free, unfettered access to our public park. There is a long tradition from ancient times of the local residents of Kauai using the Kokee area as a refuge. The uplands of Kokee provide a cool respite from the sometimes brutal heat of the Westside. The forests provide different types of food and materials for ceremonies, traditional hula, lei making and other crafts. It is a place of peace and spiritual rejuvenation, and should be free to all of our people, not just those who can afford it.

It is important for the people of Kauai to continue to have the right to access the entire ahupua’a. The ahupua’a is a traditional Hawaiian division of land from a point at the top of the mountains in the center of the island, all the way down to a wider swath on the ocean. These wedge shaped pieces provided a cross section of altitudes, and thus was representative of the different habitats and resources needed for survival on the island. Kokee is one of the few places left on Kauai where the public is able to access the entire ahupua’a.

Canceling the residential leases in favor of short term rentals managed by a private firm is also a terrible idea. The purpose of the state park is to provide a public service to the people, not to make money. A private management firm would be making a profit from our public lands.

The current leaseholders have been good conservationists and caretakers of the land. They claim the lease fees they pay have subsidized most of the operation and maintenance of the park. In addition, the Kokee Leaseholders Association has donated countless volunteer hours for conservation and maintenance projects in the park. Short term rentals would result in more cost for personnel, cleaning and repairing the stream of short term visitors to the park.

We like Kokee the way it is - a rustic but beautiful place which all people can easily access at any time. We oppose the construction of a controlled entry gate. We oppose the admission fee. We recommend that the DLNR adopt a more conservative plan to repair and maintain present facilities rather than build new buildings and lookouts and make major renovations. We strongly oppose privatizing any part of the operation of our State Park.

If you have opinions on the Kokee master plan, then come to the meeting at:
Eleele School at 5:00pm, Thursday November 18th

Submit your testimony in writing by December 3, 2004 to:
Lauren Tanaka, Division of State Parks
1151 Punchbowl St., Room 310
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

You can call Lauren Tanaka at (808) 587-0293.
Visit the DLNR website at:


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