POSTED: 29 DECEMBER 2006 - 3:30pm HST

Testify on Draft Master Plan & EIS for Kokee

Governor Sanford Dole and friend enjoy the view of Waimea Canyon, 1907

Notice of a Public Meeting on the Draft Master Plan
and EIS for Kokee and Waimea Canyon State Parks

The Division of State Parks is conducting a meeting to receive public testimony on the Draft Master Plan and EIS for Köke‘e and Waimea Canyon State Parks.

The meeting is scheduled for January 8, 2007 beginning at 5:00pm at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue.

Clarifications and revisions to the plan that were recently made will be presented to which additional public input can be given.

Individuals requiring special assistance or accommodations are asked to contact the Division of State Parks at least five (5) days in advance of the meeting.

for more info contact:
Lauren Tanaka
Division of State Parks,
1151 Punchbowl St, Room 310,
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
phone: (808) 587-0293
Visit the DLNR website at:



POSTED: 21 DECEMBER 2006 - 8:30am HST

Open letter to DLNR

DLNR's Peter Young considers the future at Hwaii 2050 Task Force presentation 26 August 2006

by Erik Coopersmith on 19 December 2006 in The Garden Island News

Dear Mr. Young ...

Thank you for patiently listening for over three hours while Kauaian after Kauaian stepped up to the microphone and addressed you and the governor’s Kaua‘i Council of Advisors on Thursday evening. The message was very clear and incredibly unanimous: the DLNR’s Master Plan for Koke‘e and Waimea Canyon state parks is not what the people of Kaua‘i want. As a matter of fact, for the past five years, there have been numerous public meetings about this Master Plan, and every time the testimony has been extremely consistent: We don’t want your “amenities” and “improvements.”

Just repair and maintain the park roads, bathrooms and hiking trails, and fix up the decrepit, state-owned rental cabins and Koke‘e Lodge. Besides those too-long-deferred repair and maintenance items, please leave our precious mountain alone. Recently, the 40- to 60-room hotel was removed from the plan, as was the paving of “Secret Bluff,” commercial helicopters using the landing zone in the park and an actual entry gate. That is certainly progress. But it’s not nearly enough.

You changed some of the Master Plan’s language. For instance, replacing “revenue generation” as its stated fundamental goal with “enhancements” and “upgrades,” and replaced “entry gate” with “entry station.” But has your intention really changed? The letter you circulated at Thursday’s meeting ends with, “We want to make sure the correct thing happens (in Koke‘e). We welcome and appreciate the participation of the Kaua‘i residents in the planning process.” If you are sincere in these statements, sweeping changes need to be made to the Master Plan as it stands right now. Dozens of people spoke with one voice: Koke‘e should not be “improved” to accommodate busload after busload of tourists; the lookouts should not be commercialized; and any sort of entry station, with or without an actual gate, is un-needed and unwanted.

As caretaker for Camp Sloggett in Koke‘e, I get a unique glimpse of how the people of Kaua‘i view and use Koke‘e. It is a place for retreat; for both individual meditation and personal time, and for families and churches and schools to get together in a special, quiet place for their own growth, exploration, sharing, teaching and praying. Locals come to Koke‘e to gather maile and mokihana, ferns and lehua blossoms for their leis and ceremonies. The annual plum-picking, trout-fishing and deer-hunting seasons are legendary. These are traditions passed down for many generations already, and hopefully for many generations to come.

As this small island continues to get built up, the rural areas are disappearing, as are the mauka forests. This continued growth demands that Koke‘e be left alone — left as a place of refuge and regeneration, a place for the keiki of Kaua‘i to see where food and water actually comes from. It is a rare and beautiful opportunity for them to learn from the kupuna so much of their heritage, culture and traditions. To explore nature, see native birds and plants, enjoy chilly mountain nights and star-filled skies. To connect with the ‘aina, the source. And to leave their Gameboys and DVDs behind for just a little while.

This is a rapidly dwindling type of place. There is nothing which can replace Koke‘e in the hearts and minds and actions of the people of Kaua‘i. It is truly unique, and must not be destroyed by mismanagement and misdevelopment, however well intended.

Appreciate Koke‘e for the wonderful, rustic, local, natural treasure that it is. Please listen to the voice of the people of Kaua‘i. Make your money elsewhere.
Malama ‘Aina preserve Koke‘e.




POSTED: 10 December 2006 - 8:30am HST

DLNR Retreat on Master Plan

Google Earth view from 10,400 feet of Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow at Kokee

[Editor's Note: This Garden Island article appears to be a DLNR retreat under pressure on the issue of Board Chairman Peter Young's vision of a Master Plan for Kokee. Public outcry over this issue has been sustained from the beginning and it looks like the DLNR has made a significant re-evaluation of its goals. It's time for some celebrating but don't let your guard down. The end game is still in play.]

State looks at less intense Koke‘e plan
by Lester Chang on 10 December 2006 in the Garden Island News

Responding to public concerns, state Department of Land and Natural Resources chairman Peter Young recommended his department look at ways to maintain the rural atmosphere of the 6,182-acre Koke‘e and Waimea State Park complex.
In a statement last week, Young said he recommended rewording the master plan to incorporate improvements that would reinforce the park’s historic and wildland character and avoid intensifying development.

Young said preservation, enhancement and management of natural, historic and cultural resources should be among primary goals of the plan.

Kaua‘i attorney Nancy Budd, who has advocated against intensification of park uses with other residents, welcomed the news from Young.

“We are heartened that Mr. Young and the governor (Linda Lingle) have decided to continue to seek input on these important proposals that could very well change the face of Koke‘e into the future,” she wrote in an e-mail. “We are especially grateful that they have decided to remove reference to the 40-60 room hotel and have decided against paving over the Pu‘u Hinahina bluff area for a 40-car parking lot and viewpoint.”

At the same time, she says Young needs to better define the plan.

“He also states that the goal of the master plan is to preserve the existing character of the parks with upgrades to park amenities in a manner that reinforces the parks’ historic and wildland character and avoids intensifying development,” she states. “This sounds great, but what does this mean to Mr. Young?”
Young recommended:

• Dropping plans for a 40-to-60-room hotel because of the lack of public support;

• Removing language stating the fundamental goal of an alternative plan is to generate revenues;

• Clarifying language a helicopter landing zone is to be used only for government emergencies and maintenance;

• Clarifying language that would prevent the building of improvements at “secret bluff.”;

• Evaluating appropriate levels of existing Koke‘e Lodge rental units.

• Including statements DLNR prefers and is investigating ways to restrict participation in an auction or negotiations for more than 110 cabins to Hawai‘i residents, with preference to Kaua‘i residents.

• Reiterating DLNR is “very concerned” about the historical integrity of the cabins and the park.

Young said DLNR plans to include provisions in new leases requiring cabin owners to preserve the historic nature of the cabins and surrounding areas.
Young also said the board has exempted Hawai‘i residents from paying a park entry fee, and said no gate will be installed at an entry station on Koke‘e Road.
Budd said, however, the planning process to date has been “fraught with confusion, primarily because the plan itself is not clear.”

“I have spent many hours attempting to distill the proposals as well as understand the process and remain uncertain as to the actual plans the state has for Koke‘e,” Budd said. “The plan is, in general, vague.”

She said several proposals seem to be driven by support for increased tourism, rather than support for the protection of wildlands.

They include: proposals for snack and souvenir concessions at lookouts; widening roads for full-size buses to the Kalalau Lookout; tripling the size of the lookout’s parking lot; adding an “imposing viewpoint” along the Waimea Canyon Drive; and adding an entry booth to charge non-residents.

“These are defined as upgrades by Mr. Young,” Budd said. “Is this consistent with reinforcing the parks’ wildland character? The pristine mountain is what we want to hold onto for our children and grandchildren.”

She said her group would support upgrades that include making viewpoints accessible to physically challenged park users, resurfacing existing roads and repairing existing facilities.

“We would suggest that the state should support the businesses in Waimea and Kekaha by eliminating any concessions at the park other than the lodge and restaurant,” Budd said. “Tourists do not need to eat at the lookouts. And (they) don’t need to shop at the lookouts.”

Young said his department will welcome public input before a final master plan and an environmental impact statement are completed.

Young urged residents to participate in the planning process before the completion of those studies.

DLNR has been developing the plan since 2001, followed up with eight public meetings on various draft master plans and meetings on draft environmental studies, Young said.