Makua Beach closed to campers as major clean-up kicks off

Makua Beach closed to campers as major clean-up kicks off
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

MAKUA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has kicked off a clean-up of Makua Beach, where a big trash problem has created a big headache.

For now, a temporary camping ban is in place as the clean-up gets underway. The state also plans to create more defined camping policies for the beach.

Once camping is allowed, the beach will have 12 designated campsites that will each allow up to 10 people.

Campers will have to purchase permits online, something that's upsetting long-term Makua beachgoers like John Cruz.

"Let the kids enjoy themselves that's the whole purpose of camping," Cruz said. "Why do you have to go through the nuisance of getting permits? That's wrong."

Meanwhile, it's unclear how long the temporary camping ban will be in place. For now, the area closes at 7 p.m. and reopens at 6 a.m.

Curt Cottrell, state parks administrator, says the temporary closure is to allow for a "deep clean" of the area.

"During the day it's still going to be available for use and everything else," he said. "It's just we're trying to curb the night time overuse that causing all the abuse."

Cottrell blames social media for promoting unregulated events at the beach. He says it's led to irresponsible beachgoers leaving behind piles of trash and even human waste (since there are no bathroom facilities at Makua)

Micah Doane, of Protectors of Paradise, said "raves and fur parties" happen every weekend in the area.

"Just drastic events, in which the place just got destroyed after," he said.

Doane and other volunteers along the Waianae Coast usually go to Makua every week to clear away tons of trash.

On Monday morning, Doane said, "It looks like a landfill and a dump."

The state says it's always been illegal to camp at Makua, but it's allowed it on weekends in a longstanding informal agreement with the community.

"We kind of let this go with the understanding it would be self-regulated, but we failed," Cottrell said.

Now the state says it's time to intervene and to keep the isolated gem clean and pristine. "What we're trying to do is just bring it back to how it was," Cottrell said.

Doane added, "We want to try preserve what we have for our future generations and it may take a little sacrifice on our part right now."

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