HANALEI, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Kauai, as the county continues to recover from last year's historic flooding, it has opened an investigation after an apparent wedding ceremony was held illegally at a popular North Shore beach park.
Black Pot Beach Park, located near the Hanalei Pier, was severely damaged by floodwaters and has been off limits to the public ever since.
The wedding took place the morning of Saturday, June 1, and county officials say it was not permitted or authorized by the county.
"In order to access the area, participants and attendees trespassed through a closed roadway and a closed beach park, both of which are active construction areas," said county spokeswoman Sarah Blane.
Blane says there are multiple signs and large barricades to make clear that access if prohibited.
Volunteers with a community watch group say they saw the party and their vehicles at the closed park, and told the wedding coordinator on site that what they were doing is illegal.
“He shrugged his shoulders and walked away,” said Makaala Kaaumoana, coordinator of the Hanalei Makai Watch group. “It’s very frustrating for us as community folks to not be able to use this park, have access to this park, and yet see this very large commercial event take place in our park.”
Kaaumoana says the incident was reported to the county, but by the time officials arrived on scene, the wedding party had already left.
"There were a number of cars. I counted 15. The repairs and restorations are not complete. The roads are not safe yet and the areas are not finished," said Kaaumoana.
County officials say the wedding is being investigated by the department of parks and recreation, Kauai police, and the prosecuting attorney.
This is just the latest incident that has the community concerned about trespassers.
Back in May, a couple who reportedly just moved to Kauai allegedly trespassed into Haena State Park, which is also still under construction, to go snorkeling at Kee Beach.
The 56-year-old woman had to be rescued and resuscitated by lifeguards after she was found face down in the water.
And the picturesque taro fields run by the Haraguchi family continue to be the target of trespassing, littering, even theft.
"When we're looking at an area that needs attention and really needs some healing, that's the time we stay out and let them do the work that needs to get done," said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau. "It's just kind of offensive to the residents to have anybody go in there."
As the island prepares for the reopening of Kuhio Highway and Haena State Park next week, as well as Black Pot Beach Park next month, there's a plea for the public to be patient and respectful.
“We are full of Aloha, we want to share the space with you, but it’s not just for you. It’s not your place to discover, it’s our home,” said Kaaumoana.