City officials tell residents, visitors to respect offshore isla - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City officials tell residents, visitors to respect offshore islands for upcoming holiday weekend

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This Memorial Day weekend, the beaches will be packed.  So too will several of the small offshore islands around Oahu.

State officials say 'respect the islands' or pay the penalty.  Oahu has 15 offshore islands, all of them classified as wildlife sanctuaries.  Native birds, plants and insects inhabit them.  Locals and tourists frequent them as well.

"The common problems we have out here are alcohol violations, dogs on the islands, another violation is camping which also includes setting up structures," said Wes Mundy of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Those can all threaten the fragile ecosystems.  The DLNR wants to remind people it will be enforcing regulations this weekend--and throughout the summer.

"The violations on the islands are petty misdemeanors and sometimes misdemeanor violations so anywhere from a $500 fine to a year in jail depending on the violation," said Mundy.

Officials offered a public safety message as well.

"We are having serious injuries, critical injuries where people are leaving in an ambulance instead of with their loved ones," said City and County EMS Spokeswoman Shayne Enright.

Cliff jumps off the Mokulua Islands are gaining in popularity--but they're exceedingly dangerous given their location.  Even making it to and from the Mokes safely is riskier than it appears.

"It's about 3/4 a mile from Lanikai beach, further from Kailua beach.  Generally it's a lot easier to make it to the islands than to make it back," noted Lt JT Sloan of Ocean Safety.
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