POSTED: 7 February 2005 - 9:00am HST

News From Kokee Coalition

Board of trhe DLNR meeting on Kokee Plan in Lihue

Here is a PDF file (24k) of the latest Galloping News, which announces the formation of a coalition of more than a dozen organizations speaking with one voice on Koke'e.  

It also provides further details on our quarterly workday (Saturday, March 5) and the annual meeting and dinner (Saturday, March 26 at The Lodge at Koke'e).  

Our last dinner at The Lodge was sold out, so get your reservations in soon, by calling Ellie Snyder at 332.7988 -- or even better, emailing her at

And The Lodge will cater private parties and will soon be open for dinner (Friday nights only to start) ...

A Reminder that today and tomorrow are the last chances to see the BLNR meetings on TV

BLNR briefing of 1/13/05 (3h18m) - Mon., Feb 07, channel 52 at 2:00pm
BLNR meeting of 1/14/05 (1h25m) - Tue., Feb 08, channel 52 at 3:30pm


HOIKE to air public meeting of BLNR

POSTED: 23 January 2005 - 10:00am HST


public in attendance at BLNR meeting at War Memorial Civic Center meeting room

HOIKE Kauai public access TV on Time Warner Ocianic Cable cable (channel 52) will air the BLNR meetings of January 13 & 14 concerning the Kokee Draft Master Plan.

starting next week at:
BLNR meeting of 1/13/05 (3h18m) - Mon., Jan 31, channel 52 at 2:00pm
BLNR meeting of 1/14/05 (1h25m) - Tue., Feb 01, channel 52 at 3:30pm

And the following week at:
BLNR meeting of 1/13/05 (3h18m) - Mon., Feb 07, channel 52 at 2:00pm
BLNR meeting of 1/14/05 (1h25m) - Tue., Feb 08, channel 52 at 3:30pm

Those that miss the first showing can set their vcr's for the second showing.


BLNR Kokee Master Plan Amendment Transcript

POSTED: 20 January 2005 - 2:00pm HST


Ron Agor, Kauai Architect and BLNR board member, makes amended motion on Kokee Draft Master Plan

Editor's Note: The following transcript was provided by Frank Hay of the Koke'e Leaseholders Association.  The source was Carol Bain who video recorded the two days of briefings and meetings.  The video will be shown on Ho'ike, Channel 52 in the near future .... Check back here for the schedule.


January 14, 2005
Transcript begins after State Parks’ presentation, including comments by BLNR board members. Recommendation by Dan Quinn, Administrator, Division of State Parks

Quinn:...Again, our recommendation is that the board accept the draft master plan for Koke`e and Waimea Canyon State Parks and endorse the preparation of an EIS and, two, the board authorize the Division of state Parks to issue a request for qualifications, request for proposals to find a master lessee for the recreational residences; to follow the general concept of option 4 which is the private management of rentals and short term leases with details to be refined through the RFP and RFQ process.

Chair Young: You mentioned in your introductory comments that based on some of the testimony that came up last night and other the testimony that had been submitted that the evaluation of the lodge and the evaluation of the elevated walkway as part of the master plan. So is that a suggested amendment? So that we could evaluated as? So is that's

Quinn: That could certainly include that so it would be clear. Otherwise it would be included in the EIS process. But if its included in the discussions here it is clear that it needs to be evaluated.
Chair Young: OK. Are there any other questions of staff?

Mr. Johns: No Mr. Chair, but before we go onto further discussion or testimony I wanted to make a statement which is a personal statement. I don't speak for the board but I have some food for thought for my fellow board members. And it's based upon the 3 _ hours of testimony that we had last night as well as our review of these voluminous reports. I guess I just want to put it out before we get to discussion, and before the public input comes in. A couple of obvious things, as there more observations than anything else.

First, Kokee is clearly a very special place. There is no question about that. It is a jewel. A jewel of the Pacific. A jewel of the world. And anyone who has hiked, camped, hunted, fished or done research up there or stayed in the cabins as all of have that sit up here, realize how special a place it is. But, the other thing that became obvious from last night from the testimony that we heard, is it is a special place in need of more attention than it has received in the past as far as management is concerned. And, I want to thank Dan, you personally and board member McCroy, and Board member Agor as well as your team for taking on a difficult job of looking at Kokee and trying to plan for its future. It's not been easy. A lot of tough questions, but I'm glad you guys were willing to step up and tried to start wrestling with those issues. When I say it needs more attention, normally that means it needs more money. That's a harsh reality but its true. That doesn't mean that my decision is going to be based on economics only, but it is going to be based on a context of having sufficient resources one way or the other to take care of this place the way it needs to be taken care of. So, that being said, and understanding where we are in the process, I would not personally be, and if the final decision had to be made today which it's not going to be made today; and I think that's something that needs to be made obvious, that even if the board approved your recommendation, it's not a final decision by this board to implement this plan. What it is seems to me that you are asking for is the ability to go out and investigate some of these options you have presented to us. And to do an EIS. So that we have, we the board, has better information to make a well informed decision about what to do about Koke`e.

That being said, if I was asked to make a final decision today based upon what we heard so far, I would not be in a position to support a gated entry. And I would not be in a position to support the changes in how the leasehold cabins have been dealt with. Now the leasehold cabins are a little different, and to me I think 3 observations or major issues there are from my side is there is one: accessibility, making sure this resource is truly accessible for all Hawaii citizens of all economic classes. I am not sure it has been that way in the past but that's something what I would like to see investigated more. The second part about the cabins is the cultural landscape. And I am not sure that the master plan thus far gave sufficient weight to what that means with regard to the people that have been up there over time. And the third one are the revenues. So the economics, accessibility, cultural landscape and what does it mean? Is it a revenue source? Should it be a revenue source to take care of the cabins themselves or for the rest of the park? So, I am glad, happy you let me indulge, but I wanted to share that with the fellow members because obviously we haven't talked about the issue; we are not supposed to be talking about the issue; but those are my initial thoughts on what I've heard so far and what we've read so far. So, no matter what the board decides today if you can make sure to have those addressed going forward I would be more comfortable.


Quinn: Thank you. As a clarification, the master plan in your documents as we went over yesterday. The one on the wall had two extra items included as it was continually refined. That was a canyon trail and also extending down makai along the highway. Additionally, the issue of the entry station is something that is in a concept in here. Before we proceed with anything like that. As I mention yesterday, our division doesn't have the authority to ask the board even to charge entry fees for anyplace but Diamond Head right now. We would have to go back through the administrative rules amendment process which would include statewide public hearings. Then come back to the board again for approval of those rules. If the board chooses to approve any kind of fee, then we have to go back to set up what ever fee schedule might be established. Whether it includes a kama`aina consideration. That would be a board call too.
Mr. Johns – Right. Conceptually though, if we don't have the money, if we throw out things you guys have identified as revenue sources everybody has to realize that the grand plan or ideas about improvements to the road or restrooms or lookouts or whatever, we are going to have to find alternative sources for those. And if the legislature or the administration is not going to generally fund that primarily out of general funds, then people have to realize that what that means for their resources. Is it going to be treated the way it has or are we going to look for other ways to try to solve that problems. But yeah, I understand if it moves forward today as presented that doesn't mean we are going to be instituting.... you still have to come back to us for final approval. You still have to come back for approve of final fees. I understand.

Quinn: That's correct. And something else was pointed out by several of the speakers last night was the impact on the cultural activities. Through the EIS process there will be cultural impact assessment too.

Chair: Thank you, Tim. I too share some of the concerns you talked about. I was motivated by the part of the discussion of the plan of the entry fee and gates because that is an issue that is happening among many other states and other jurisdictions. About how park managers can better manage their park and deal with their parks. And I wanted to hear from people about what they thought about that process. Should we be doing that? Right now we are doing that again at Diamond Head. It was never in the context of everybody just being charged when they come through. There is a variety of models. I am aware of the model at Hanauma Bay where if you are a resident and you show them your drivers license, you don't have to pay anything. If you are not a resident you have to pay a fee . So that kind of model could apply. Not just at Koke'e but other state parks. Cause I do agree that parks are typically funded through general funds so all of our taxes go to maintain those.

It's clear to me in this community there is clearly a concern about a gate. I agree that gates create barriers. And we are talking about a place that people want to go to, and that we want them to go to to enjoy. And maybe the gate is not the right way to describe it. We need further review of this. And just to reinforce some of the discussion, that Dan has presented and as well as comments from Tim; while this process has been going on for a while, this is very much the beginning of a process. If the board moves with the recommendation, it doesn't mean there is master plan, the gate is going up and everybody is going to be charged. What it means is we're going to go through far more public comment, public input, environmental, cultural, social, economic review. And that's going to be important to all of us to have that background information so we can make the right decision. So I want people to understand we're at a beginning stage of a process.

That if the board approves the recommendations of staff, it means were going to go through further public review. Further public meetings. Further public input, further study about the issues about the issues that are listed in the report as it's drafted now as well as the issues that were raised during the public testimony. So I view that as an opportunity for us to continue to hear from the community about the right thing to do is at Koke`e. Just as an aside, Wade, I don't know if he is still here...he was making arrangements for me to stay up there again this weekend. I was looking forward to that. Unfortunately I have to go back to Oahu tonight. And I know how special that place is. I have heard how special that place is to many of you. I share that. As a little kid we used to go up there and experience it. I have had the opportunity as an adult to continue to go up and enjoy Koke`e, which is a special place to me too.

Mr. Agor: Thank you chairman. Mr. Johns. I concur with what the gentlemen had to say previously. I would like to make a comment too about some of the comments that have been made about this being a done deal. We are far from this being a done deal. Before us today is the draft master plan. It's just a draft. And it's gonna trigger an environmental impact study, which I as a board member really really need to render a decision on the final draft plan, as well as my fellow board members. So, should this draft master plan get approved today it is not a done deal with the situation on the master plan. We have a long ways more to go. We'll have more opportunities for public input. I went around the room yesterday and literally asked if you had read the master plan. And a lot my buddies didn't read the master plan, draft master plan. Most of you know where my office is. I have a copy there. I am very accessible. I am right next to the theater. Go to the movies and stop by and see me. And read the draft master plan. It's a good thing.

[Testimony by the public follows, then ….]
Motion to Accept Koke’e Master Plan on Agenda Item E2
(after final public testimony)

Chair: no more testimony

Mr. Agor: Mr. Chair, I would like to see this process move on. I myself, as I stated earlier and I am sure the rest of the board members, need a lot more information to be able to render a decision on the final master plan. And by moving on approving this draft master plan, it gives us the mechanism to move forward with the environmental impact study which is very important. It gives the time to allow the public to present the testimony here to the consultants and to the staff, so that the staff can reevaluate into consideration all of the testimony that has been given in the last two days. So with that, Mr. Chairman, I would like to move to approve the draft master plan with directives, recommendations or amendments to the plan. I will start with

Page 6-4 on the feature summary, highlights include: to add the elements of testimony of the Green Hart Conservation Company. They've got some very good ideas to preserve the culture and the environment.

Page 6-16: The statement of mission should include the preservation of Native Hawaiian gathering and cultural access rights.

Page 7-10: Entry Gate – I personally recommend not having a physical gate and I also recommend we take into consideration Juan Wilson's proposal and testimony to be taken very seriously and see how that can be worked out

Page 7-19: Where we talk about different public facilities. I don't know if this is the right place to state this but I would like to place it anyway. I would like the staff and consultants to work with nonprofit organizations that rent cabins and provide a substantial amount of public service and consider them separately from individual cabin leases.

Page 7-20: I would like to explore the possibility of the construction of a lodge with short term rentals.

Page 7-39: I would like to consider in terms of entry fees any person holding a local drivers license would be exempt from paying any fees and that staff and the consultant look at alternate ways of collecting entry fees

Page 7-40: I don't have a handle or enough information to render a decision on the way to go about the cabin leases. I would direct the staff and consultants to really take to heart the testimony by everybody and really evaluate it and come up with a workable solution for everybody.

And with that, I move again to recommend the motion.

Mr. Johns: I will second that and for discussion I would like to make sure that what I am going to call the Juan Wilson alternative make sure that that's evaluated in the EIS process, as well as the comments from Hui o Laka, Mr. Wayne Jacintho, and Frank Hay with regard to the result. So that when the IES comes back to us, the EIS process will have more creative solutions for these problems when we look at it next time.

Chair Young: I am also assuming based on the things that Ron had included, all of those are going to be subject to the review of the EIS. Any further discussion? Just one other comment, and this is not a condition but it will be a direction tot he review to the consultant. I think the plan considered 5 public meetings as far as providing input into the plan and in the development of the final master plan as well as with the IES. I would ask that they increase the number of public meeting. Because if they would hold public meetings throughout the island of Kauai in places and at times that are going to be convenient to the general public. While this is Kokee and we have been focusing on it, its clear it's an island issue, and so we would want to have some of those public meetings in the area but also around the island. Any further discussion. All those in favor? Opposed? Motion carries.


[Chair Young continues the meeting …]



BLNR and TGI "Spin" Meeting results

POSTED: 15 January 2005 - 9:00am HST


The following is a letter I sent to the Garden Island News 15 January 2005.


Chris Cook: Here's a letter to the editor...
(Note - I am sending you a separate email with the two PDF files I have provided the BLNR. One is about 750K the other 2.5 megs)

The BLNR vote on January 14th was a major victory for the people of Kauai. Reading Lester Chang's article article (1/15/05), you wouldn't know it. The board backed down from their plan due to pressure from the public. They may try to "spin" this event with the press, but they adopted a plan with no gate, no fee, and major modifications to the Lodge area plan and resident lease arrangement.

Significant changes were made. Ron Agor, Kauai architect and new board member, made the motion to adopt the plan with several amendments. I do not have a copy of the specific language, but a record of the public meeting was made. Ron's amendment language was unanimously adopted by the board. The amendments included the inclusion of two documents I submitted to the board as modifications to the KDMP.

Those documents were prints of modified PDF files I extracted from a CD of the KDMP supplied by the DLNR. The extracted drawings were changed and notes were modified. The documents were changes to the Entry Area Plan (figure 7-2 of the KDMP) and the Lodge Area Plan (figure 7-4 of the KDPM).

The Entry area was changed to remove the traffic island with guardhouse as well as the gate. A welcoming "Aloha" sign was added area was relabeled "Proposed Park Entry". The specific language says:

• "Canyon Drive and Kekaha Road (Hwy 550), in the vicinity of mike marker 7.1: There will be an “Aloha - Mahalo” sign erected welcoming visitors and thanking them for coming. There will be no gate, fee or guard house. A Ranger Station of about 100 square feet will be operated during daylight hours and a small emergency parking area will be created."

The modification of the Lodge Area Plan modifications was more complex but included these major features:

• "New Grand Lodge (16 beds) with covered walk and deck connecting to Museum "

• "Relocate and restore existing Picnic Pavilion to east of new Grand Lodge"

The Lodge plan relocates bus parking to the south away from the lodge area. It removes the public road from crossing the Meadow. The public road ends at the Lodge. From there the visiting public have to go on foot or bicycle to reach Kokee trails or the Kalalau lookouts. The park will operate a Shuttle Station near the museum with jitneys that will take the public beyond the Lodge.

A re-alignment of the roads creates a Tee-intersection before the Meadow with the road leading beyond the Lodge. This road beyond the Lodge has a sign labeled "Staff and Residents Only!". The term "residents" was purposely not defined so that it might be evaluated. It is certainly meant to keep visitors and tourist rental cars from the area beyond the lodge. Resident could be interpreted as "Hawaii", "Kauai" or even "Kokee" resident. How restrictive this is needs further evaluation.

There were amendments to the plan regarding the future of cabin leases. The significance of those would best be described by Frank O. Hay and Wayne Jacintho.

Lester Chang's article indicates the BLNR is backing away from the implications of the public meetings and significance of the amendments to the Kokee Plan. I ask the Garden Island news to publish the text of Ron Agor's motion with amendments that was unanimously adopted by the BLNR.

The people of Kauai will have to be vigilant at future public meetings as this plan is developed and solidified. Only continual scrutiny by the public will ensure that the planning process will result in a desirable future. Attend the upcoming meetings!

Juan Wilson
PO Box 949
Hanapepe HI 96716





POSTED: 14 January - 3:00pm HST

BLNR accepts changes: No gate or Kokee community destruction

Entry Area showing changes in amended drawings that were voted into Master Plan by BLNR

by Juan Wilson 14 January 2005

The BLNR (Hawaii State Board of Land & Natural Resources) had a tumultuous meeting on Thursday evening at the Convention Hall in Lihue, January 13h, 2005. The public was upset and concerned about the possibility of a gate, and fee going into Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park. In addition there were many in the audience that felt it wrong to destroy the Kauai residential community in Kokee in order to replace them with short term rentals.

There were many who spoke eloquently and passionately about the plan. Virtually all that spoke were dead set against these issues. This, of course, was the pattern of events when the BLNR voted to allow the Navy to take control of 5000 acres of agland on the Mana Plain.

However, this time we won a round!

At Friday's meeting to decide the question not as many members of the public showed up. Those that did were well prepared with their cases. John Quinn, the State Director of Parks made the case for the Draft Master Plan to the board.

Ron Agor, an architect from Kauai, and newly appointed BLNR member broke the logjam with questions about elements of the plan as a result of the public testimony. Even then he and other board members were willing to vote for it with the caveat that the bad elements could be altered later.

My experience in architecture and planning tells me that a bad foundation will yield a bad structure. Some would say that accepting the plan, as proposed, was not "a done deal", but the sense in the room was that if the board accepted the plan that Kokee would be lost forever.

Ron Agor made a motion to accept a re-evaluation of a lottery system for leases and made specific recommendations, including the addition of my alterations to the plan see drawing on this page [or download PDF files of the Entry (600k) and Lodge (2.2megs)].

These files are replacements for Figures 7-2 (the Park Entry) and 7-4 (the Lodge & Meadow) in the Draft Master Plan. The park entry drawing shows no guardhouse, traffic island or gate at the mile 7.1 marker. Instead it notes an "Aloha Sign" and a Ranger Station.

The meadow drawing shows no road going through the meadow and a new Grand Lodge with a 16 bed inn just beyond the museum and where the existing Picnic Pavilion is. The pavilion is noted relocated east. A sign at the junction of the road leading on to Kalalau lookouts reads "Staff & Residents Only".

The assumption of this plan is that tourists and visitors in cars would either walk bike or take a park shuttle jitney to the Kalalau lookouts or other destinations beyond the area of the Lodge and Museum. This ferry service could be a revenue source to the park.

If you have comments or changes you would like to suggest, please contact me or Ron Agar and we can forward your thoughts to the board.


Kokee Lodge Area showing changes in amended drawings that were voted into Master Plan by BLNR

see also:

Island Breath: Kokee Plan 4
Island Breath: Kokee Plan 3
Island Breath: Kokee Plan 2
Island Breath: Kokee Plan 1

To reach DLNR staff, contact:

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: