City limits number of permits after campgrounds reopen

City limits number of permits after campgrounds reopen
The city is only allowing half the number of permits to ensure enough distance between each campsite (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu families are excited to be out camping again after not being allow to for more than three months.

But not as many families will get to enjoy it since the city is only allowing half the number of permits to ensure enough distance between each campsite.

“There’s severely limited amount of campsites now. We went to about half of what’s available. Simply because we wanted to physically distance the campsites,” said Nathan Serota with the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation.

Serota said the city used to issue permits for just over 200 campsites across Oahu.

That number has dropped to just over 100 because of social distancing guidelines.

Jeannette Macaluso and her family camp at Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden at least three times a year.

She has been camping there since she was a little girl and couldn’t wait for campgrounds to reopen.

“My kids are young and so I enjoy taking them here and having those experiences that I had. We like going hiking and for me, it’s nostalgic,” said Macaluso.

Macaluso said getting permits wasn't easy.

“We had a camping booking party two weeks before. So, we all got our laptops and sat together and we made sure we’re on the site at 4:45 so that when the site opens at 5, we’re all clicking,” Macaluso said.

Across town at Sand Island State Recreation Area, tents are going up and birthdays are being celebrated.

“Just to get out because COVID had everybody locked up in their house and it was a perfect time for us to come and celebrate his birthday and just be together and fellowship for the weekend,” said Marilyn Puaatuua.

Puaatuua and her family tried to get a camping permit at a city beach park for the inaugural weekend, but couldn’t get through on the website.

So, they are making the best of being outdoors.

“We get to feel some sun, air, look at the ocean. This is not the beach we wanted but we’re here,” said Macyn Lautalo.

Regular camp rules still apply.

The only campground that will stay closed through September 4th is Bellows Beach because turtles are nesting.

The best way to book is through the city’s camping website.

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