Some 17 people were arrested earlier this week after occupying restricted space in Kauai's Kalalau Valley without a permit. Among those arrested, the Department of Land and Natural Resources believes three of those people were living in the valley for a prolonged period of time.
Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers conducted the arrests as a part of ongoing enforcement operations in the area.
Photos from an August 2016 sweep shows campsites with an abundance of personal items resting on or near rocks, and in open spaces in the valley.
DOCARE officers say they received word regarding illegal encampments in the valley through social media channels.
"Some of the behavior depicted on blogs and websites is brazen, clearly illegal, disrespectful to the Hawaiian culture, damaging to natural resources, and completely devoid of any appreciation for the wilderness character of the Napali Coast,” DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell said.
In addition to the sweeps of illegal campers, the DLNR conducts monthly air-lifts of accumulated rubbish and human waste to maintain the health of the area.
The early parts of the Kalalau Trailhead do not require a permit. A permit is required, however, for the nine miles after the Hanakapiai stream.