Illegal off-roading prompts the state to close roads at Kaena fo - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Illegal off-roading prompts the state to close roads at Kaena for nearly two months

(Image: DLNR) (Image: DLNR)
KAENA POINT, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

For the first time ever, the Department of Land and Natural Resources has closed the roads at Kaena State Park for nearly two months to help prevent further damage caused by mud-bogging, a practice where drivers attempt to cross deep pools of muddy water or drive over saturated ground. 

The temporary closure began President's Day weekend, but the state has been trying to crackdown on illegal off-roading at Kaena for years. 

Back in December 2014, the land department locked the gate to Kaena and launched a new permit system for vehicles, mostly to allow fishing. 

While officials say there are now fewer vehicles in the park, more than 8,000 people have permits, and they say some of them are taking advantage of the access, especially during the recent wet weather. 

"It's just not drying out and we have a lot of puddles, a lot huge areas where if we let vehicles in, they would just massacre the landscape," said Curt Cottrell, administrator of DLNR's Division of State Parks. 

Road scars left by tires and craters -- some as deep as two feet -- can be found throughout the area. 

"It is not a four-wheel drive recreational location. It's got cultural value, resource value, historic value. Any type of abuse with vehicles, that soil ends up in some of the best near shore water in the state," Cottrell said. 

Conservationists who work in the area say the illegal off-roading also endangers wildlife. 

"It destroys the habitat. Most of the birds are obviously out at the point itself, but they don't utilize that area exclusively. We do sometimes find them in the state park section," said Dr. Lindsay Young, executive director of Pacific Rim Conservation. 

Young says there has been improvement since the permit system was implemented, but she says wet weather draws bad crowds. 

"The number of cars we actually see on the road has gone down from anywhere from 50 to 100 per day, to maybe 5 to 10 on any given day we're out there. Even with that, any time there's heavy rains, there's still people out there who will go mud-bogging and abuse the permit system," said Young. 

The land department says those caught breaking the rules will be cited and they can have their vehicles confiscated. 

Officials say they are monitoring the roads daily and will reopen the gate once the roads are restored.  

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved. 

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • 'Papa! Papa!' Audio of children stokes rage over separation

    'Papa! Papa!' Audio of children stokes rage over separation

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 1:20 AM EDT2018-06-19 05:20:32 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 7:04 AM EDT2018-06-22 11:04:55 GMT
    (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP). In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. Border Patrol agent watches as people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the...(U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP). In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a U.S. Border Patrol agent watches as people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the...
    An audio recording that appears to capture the heartbreaking cries of small Spanish-speaking children being processed by U.S. officials stoked the uproar over the policy of separating immigrant children from their...More >>
    An audio recording that appears to capture the heartbreaking cries of small Spanish-speaking children being processed by U.S. officials stoked the uproar over the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.More >>
  • In reversal, Trump orders halt to his family separation rule

    In reversal, Trump orders halt to his family separation rule

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:21 AM EDT2018-06-20 15:21:21 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 6:45 AM EDT2018-06-22 10:45:09 GMT
    A boy stares out of a heavily tinted bus window leaving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Tuesday in McAllen, TX. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)A boy stares out of a heavily tinted bus window leaving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Tuesday in McAllen, TX. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

    More >>

    Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

    More >>
  • The Latest: Justice Dept. calls executive order 'stopgap'

    The Latest: Justice Dept. calls executive order 'stopgap'

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 12:01 PM EDT2018-06-20 16:01:56 GMT
    Friday, June 22 2018 6:27 AM EDT2018-06-22 10:27:00 GMT
    (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File). FILE - In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of PMQs at parliament in London. The British government is facing anoth...(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File). FILE - In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of PMQs at parliament in London. The British government is facing anoth...
    British Prime Minister Theresa May says the United States is wrong to separate migrant children from their parents, but has rejected calls to cancel President Donald Trump's visit to Britain next month.More >>
    British Prime Minister Theresa May says the United States is wrong to separate migrant children from their parents, but has rejected calls to cancel President Donald Trump's visit to Britain next month.More >>
Powered by Frankly