State of the state parks - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State of the state parks

One of our state parks One of our state parks
A state pier in need of repair A state pier in need of repair
Dan Quinn Dan Quinn
A state park fee machine A state park fee machine
Christopher Matt, on left Christopher Matt, on left

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Bathrooms with missing doors.

Benches with missing boards

and piers with missing…stability.

Those are a few of the black eyes the Department of Land & Natural Resources would like to fix.

DLNR Parks Administrator Dan Quinn admits, "In some cases, yes, some of our facilities are pretty junk.  We have made progress and fixed a number of them but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done."

A report issued by the department says two decades of neglect have caused a $240-million backlog of repairs and replacement costs and, if the funding problems aren't fixed, it could lead to closing parks.  They've already turned off the irrigation at various places.

Quinn explains, "Certainly there are places we can generate revenue and there are places that will never generate anything."

Parks aren't exactly the highest priority so they don't always get money from lawmakers.

Right now, state parks get half the budget it did in 1992 and the state is trying to make up the difference by charging fees like they do at Pali Lookout.  Three parks already charge non-resident fees.

The state wants to charge fees at five other parks and will also raise fees for camping, mooring your boat, or leasing land.

Christopher Matt, a visitor to one of the state parks, had this to say: "I don't like special fees.  It tricks the public into paying those extra fees because this is for that and we want that, so people go ahead and pay it."

State administrators admit there's never a good time to ask for more money.   While there is a new governor and a new DLNR leader, the same old problems remain.

Quinn says, "No matter who is in charge, we're still faced with a big deficit.  We're not going to pretend things are going to be rosy all of the sudden."

 

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