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DLNR orders activists occupying Hilo’s Wailoa River State Park to clear out

Wailoa River Park occupied by activists, DLNR says.
Wailoa River Park occupied by activists, DLNR says.(DLNR)
Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 5:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A group of activist claiming jurisdiction of a portion of land within Hilo’s Wailoa River State Park have been ordered by the DLNR to vacate the area.

The DLNR says conservation officers have posted notices to the group to cease and desist by 5 p.m. Wednesday. That means they’ll have to clear out their belongings, or it will be considered abandoned property.

DLNR officials say the the group has occupied the park since Sunday with about a dozen people appearing to be members as of Tuesday. Reports indicate member numbers at one point may have swelled to 75 or more, the DLNR added.

The activist also planted about 55 taro plants and banana trees across a football-sized field in a so-called Kanaka Garden, which is marked by a plaque.

Wailoa River Park occupied by activists, DLNR says.
Wailoa River Park occupied by activists, DLNR says.(DLNR)

DLNR officials said on Tuesday, “A man sat at the park’s entrance drumming. Another person was mowing grass around the fresh plantings.”

No permits have been filed on behalf of the group to plant or camp in the area.

“No matter their professed claims of ownership, this recreation area and all other State Parks belong to all of Hawai’i for the enjoyment by residents and visitors. Park users have expressed concerns that members of this group are ignoring County and State mandates to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic,” DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said.

State officials said eight years ago, the man leading the group was also cited for similar illegal activities at Wailoa.

The group hasn’t yet been reached for comment.

This story may be updated.

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