POSTED: 26 JULY 2006 - 6:30am HST

Kokee will never be the same

promotional image from obliterates Niagara falls with retail logos

Koke‘e commercialized
by Nancy J. Budd on 24 July 2006 in The Garden Island News

[Editor's note 9/1/06: the author has made two corrections to this article - one is typographical the other numerical (on parking requirements for hotel rooms]

Koke‘e is for sale. The state is poised to irreversibly transform our cherished mountain into a tourist park just like so many around the world: large parking lots and hotels are built to attract maximum numbers of tourists who are sold bus tours to the once pristine site. The locals stay away.

While the stated purpose and goals of the State Parks Division and the Koke
‘e and Waimea Canyon Master Plan include properly managing and protecting Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural heritage, preserving the unique historic character of Koke’e and Waimea Canyon, protecting and preserving the unique natural environments of the parks, ensuring the continued existence of Hawai ‘i’s unique flora and fauna for the benefit of Hawai‘i’s future generations, protecting, preserving and managing archaeological resources, historic sites and traditional cultural places to ensure the continuity of the traditional cultural values and practices that are unique to these parks, promoting heightened appreciation of the parks’ natural and cultural resources, and preserving, managing and interpreting the “legacy of the recreation residences,” the only goal that seems to be guiding the plan is revenue enhancement to the state. And the money raised won’t even stay on Kaua‘i, it will go into a general fund for all parks in the state.

this ad claims Travelodgeis in the heart of the Niagara Falls entertainment and dining district

Take a look at some of what is proposed (despite the fact that virtually all of those testifying at the two public meetings I attended were opposed):

• A new park entry booth will be built in the middle of the road at mile 6.8 at the entrance to Waimea Canyon State Park. According to the EIS, this “is an essential component of the Master Plan” (2.5.3A) as it will permit the state to charge an entry fee for park visitors (currently exempting Hawai‘i residents). (1.4.15) The cost to build this 100 square foot entry station is estimated at about $250,000 and as a part of this plan, the existing ranger station located at the meadow is planned to be moved down the mountain as a “support building” and a minimum of four parking spaces and a bathroom are also to be constructed at this site.

• A 40-60 room hotel and greatly expanded parking are in the plans for the meadow area at Koke‘e (2.5.3N). The parking area is to be enlarged to include not less than one stall per hotel room (60 stalls) plus one additional stall per 75 square feet of other commercial (retail, restaurant, shops, etc.). That’s 100 stalls for 7,500 square feet of commercial space), plus additional parking for the campground and “development of bus parking.” That’s a lot of parking lot.

• Adding a concession area and information center to the Waimea Canyon Lookout with new parking lot and bus staging area.

• Paving over the meadow at 13.5 mile marker (the meadow with the gray gate on the canyon side, where nene and goats come each morning and evening, a very special place) with a 40-car parking lot and viewing platform.

• Widening the road to the Kalalau lookout to “safely accommodate full-size buses.” (2.5.2B)

• Auctioning the recreational cabins to the highest bidder world-wide in early September 2006.

I am not a leaseholder and never have been, but it is my opinion that permitting a no-holds barred auction of the cabins to the highest bidders is probably the most short-sighted approach possible. The wealthiest bidders are not likely to be Kaua‘i residents. Who will have access? There are many options that can be considered, but only a month to stop the irreparable damage that the auction as scheduled will cause.

Please urge our governor and BLNR to take a breath and suspend plans to move forward with the auction and the master plan.

The deadline for public comment is Aug. 7. I f you care about Koke‘e send your written comments to:

DLNR-Division of State Parks, Attn: Lauren Tanaka, P O Box 621, Honolulu, 96809

(with copies to the Governor of Hawaii c/o OEQC, 235 Beretania No. 702, Honolulu, 96813).



POSTED: 22 June 2006 - 12:15am HST

State continues on path to gated Kokee community

Entry gate to Caumsett State Park in NY similar to DLNR proposed gate for Kokee

1. The Koke'e Master Plan Draft EIS is out - and now apparently available only on our web site - the deadline for public comments has been extended until August 7, per the latest issue of the Environmental Notice at . It's available in hard copy in the Lihue, Waimea, Hanapepe and Princeville Libraries. I asked that the deadline be extended, as although it was published in the May 23 edition of the Environmental Notice, it was not available over here until June 5 (hard copy in the libraries above).

2. There was a meeting scheduled on the Draft EIS for the 27th June - but never any publicity - so yesterday morning I asked that it be postponed - haven't heard yet when the meeting will be.

3. The Draft EIS resurrects a potential gate - Hawaii residents excepted - but first installs an "entry feature", very similar to what Juan Wilson proposed in January 2005, however with a central island. Apparently DLNR can't collect money on DOT roads.

This is the plan that was approved at the 13 January 2005 BLNR meeting in Lihue

[Editor's Note: Ron Agor made a motion to accept a re-evaluation of a lottery system for leases and made specific recommendations, including the addition of alterations to the plans. These plans replaced 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.see Island Breath:BLNR Plan]

Lots of other bad stuff in the Draft EIS, but ;-) you'll be pleased that, although the Board opted for an auction for all the cabins, there will no impact on the historic and cultural integrity of the community ;-). I'll go through it thoroughly and provide other citations to share with you.

Frank O. Hay, for the
Koke'e Leaseholders Association
(808) 639-7704



The truth about Koke‘e

3 June 2006 - 9:00am

Cabin on TMK 1-4-03:05 has a high DLNR historic rating of 5

by Erik Coopersmith on 3 June 2006 a Koke‘e leaseholder cabin 29

The recent Garden Island article “Koke‘e cabin owners fighting back” reported that many Koke‘e leaseholders have applied for permits to remove or demolish their cabins. For many of us, this is a last-ditch effort to save a historic cultural landscape from certain destruction.

A few of the cabins in Koke‘e have been handed down over several generations; many others, including my own, were purchased; a few were built more recently on vacant lots. The current cabin owners each feel a close, personal connection to their cabin, which have required not only considerable financial investment but also time, energy, passion and commitment.

When the current leases expire, the State plans to take all of our cabins, saying that the leases contain a ‘surrender’ clause. Not only is this action illegal, it’s simply wrong. I bought my cabin; I have title to it. I fixed it up, from a ‘tear-down’ to a comfy little cabin. If the State wants to assume ownership of my cabin, they should at least pay me a fair price for it. If you were in my position, wouldn’t you feel the same?

The lot of TMK 1-4-04:19 features an orchid garden

That is why we have applied for these permits — to prevent the State from taking our private property without paying for it. At the State’s proposed auction, if I am not the high bidder, sadly, I must be prepared to remove my cabin, unless I receive a fair price for it.

Longtime Kaua‘i residents still remember with anger the 1985 auction — the first ever for Koke‘e leases. What happened then was wrong, and horribly divisive; more than 50 families lost their beloved cabins, and at least 15 cabins were demolished or removed. One burned down.

This wonderful, unique historic mountain community is on the verge of being destroyed forever by poor, short-sighted planning decisions. Is that what our State leadership wants as its legacy? Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.

Puu ka Pele on TMK 1-4-02:76 has historic rating of 5 but considered very poor condition

There are always cabins available in Koke‘e. There have been over 80 changes in ownership since 1985. That’s an average of one every 3 months. There are also dozens of identified buildable vacant lots as well as many already-state-owned cabins. Therefore, the current leases should be re-negotiated, the cabins should remain in private ownership, and the auction reserved for all the vacant properties. Increase access and opportunity, be fair to the current cabin owners, and let the free market operate.

Taking private property and selling Koke‘e off to the highest bidder must be stopped. The solution should be one of vision and partnership, working with and for the people of Kaua‘i, to assure that current local families, and generations to come, can enjoy Koke‘e, as their grandparents did.

Danford House at TMK 1-4-03:13. [IB Editor: Could this be Peter Youngs future cabin?]

The people of Kaua‘i need to take a stand. If you agree, please contact your local legislator, or better yet e-mail the DLNR Chairman directly: And tell a friend.

Undersigned by Mike and Joann Givens, Koke‘e leaseholders and cabin owners, Lot No. 10; Peter Beckerman, Koke‘e leaseholder and cabin owners, Lot No. 30; Paullie Purdy, Kaua’i resident; Allen Rundbaken, Kaua’i resident; Dr. Harold and Alice Furst, California resident and frequent visitor to Kaua‘i; David and Lolita Halper, California resident and visitor to Kaua‘i; Paul and Karen Honeywell, Lake Tahoe, CA resident and visitor to Kaua’i.



State Betrays Kauai over Kokee & Waimea Parks future

24 January 2006 - 8:00am

aerial view of Kokee with Kalalau left, Waimea Canyon bottom, Wainiha Valley top

Editors Note: When the DLNR plan for the future of Kokee and Waimea State parks was presented to the people of Kauai in November of 2004, it was clear that the State of Hawaii had plans to in effect create a gated resort community as a privitization effort to make money and restrict public access to the mountains of Kauai. There was such an uproar in reaction that eventually a motion to modify the plan was successfully made by Kauai's BLNR representative Ron Agor. Subsequently, the DLNR appeared to be on a path that was reasonable in dealing with the future of the parkland. Well, that path is now a dead end. The State has overturned the motion demanded by the people of Kauai. We have been betrayed.

You will find this difficult to believe, but it's true ...|
by Frank O Hay on 3 February 2006 for Koke'e Leaseholders Association

A submittal prepared by State Parks for the Land Board's meeting in Honolulu next Friday - February 10, 2006, beginning at 9:00am - makes even less sense than an auction. Parks now states that the Attorney General has ruled that Kauai Land Board member Ron Agor's motion in its September 9 meeting (five months ago) is invalid. A link to that motion is cited below. As a result, Parks now proposes:

Two "informal drawings, one for island of Kaua'i residents, and one for State of Hawaii residents. Approximately 50% of the recreation residences and seven vacant lot leases will be made available for the first (Kaua'i) drawing, the balance of the recreation residences and any lot leases not selected during the initial process will be made available for the statewide drawing." The Board will then "proceed with negotiations based on the appraised rent of the winners of the property (improved or vacant)."

Further, "At the end of the current lease period, all leasehold improvements revert to the ownership of the State, and there will be no compensation to the prior lessees for those improvements remaining on the lots."

And of course, this is all presumably "In accordance with the State's historic preservation law ....." so that any cabins remaining after this ill-considered process will be subject to design guidelines ...

The full text of the submittal (labeled in error as February 9 rather than 10) is available at our web site together with the September 9, 2005 meeting and other documents

Submittal for Feb. 9, 2006 Land Board meeting
DLNR Issues Water System Warning At Waimea Canyon State Park
Governor and Lt. Governor Commend Koke'e Leaseholders

In a ceremony at Washington Place on Tuesday, November 29, Lieutenant Governor Aiona commended the Koke'e Leaseholders Association for their "strong sense of place and malama i ka 'aina o Kaua'i" for more than 80 years and our "outstanding contributions to the people of the State of Hawai'i."

Minutes of the Land Board Meeting on September 9, 2005 [extract]

Sept. 9, 2005: Land Board decides the future of the cabins...

Although a drawing of eligible bidders may be appropriate for vacant lots (such as new Hawaiian Homes Lots), I cannot think of a more calculated way to destroy a historic community than a drawing for these historic properties. What do you think?

If you have any comments, please email , with a copy to

We'll make sure our Kauai Land Board representative, Ron Agor, gets a copy

Editor's Note: The following is an email we sent to Peter Young on this issue.



Date: February 7th
Subject: Kokee master Plan
To: BLNR Chairman Young, []

In the past I have found myself at loggerheads with the DLNR during your tenure. You appear to be a soviet style bureaucrat pilfering the public trust. By that I mean an agent of private business and the military to control even more of our island. I dealt with some Soviet "businessmen" representing Texpomoexport when I was doing planning in Iran in the mid 70's. They are basically the same guys working to process nuclear material for Iran today. My nickname for them was "gangstercrats".

The PMRF lease arrangement is the kind of deal that convinced me about your agenda. The PMRF is not a Navy Base so much as a pork-barrel boondoggle for outfits like ITT and Raytheon. The "agriculture" on the Mana Plain is now the protected experimental grounds for corporations like Monsanto and Syngen to further their efforts to own life itself. Had there been no public outcry the deal you sealed would have been good "in perpetuity". Heinous.

The betrayal on the Kokee Lease holders will not be forgotten. The fact that (Kauai board member) Ron Agor's motion on the Parks Departments Plan has been overturned is a disaster for the Kokee community. The strong and unified public support for Agor's motion was the only effort by the the BLNR to make an unfair and flawed plan acceptable. Now the people of Kauai have been betrayed again by the State of Hawaii.

I can only hope that Kauai can hold on until there is a reversal of attitude in the government in Honolulu. As for now, the Department of Land and Natural Resources has lost its legitimacy here on Kauai. Maybe you should think of retiring.

Juan Wilson
PO Box 949
Hanapepe HI 96716
(808) 335-0733

see also:
Island Breath: Kokee Plan 7
Island Breath: Kokee Plan 6
Island Breath: Kokee Plan 5

Island Breath: Kokee Plan 4

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