Destruction of Kauai state park raises concerns from state, Native Hawaiians

Polihale State Park (Image: Department of Land and Natural Resources)
Polihale State Park (Image: Department of Land and Natural Resources)(Department of Land and Natural Resources)
Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 5:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sand dunes at Kauai’s Polihale State Park have been destroyed by vehicles, raising concern for safety, state officials said.

The DLNR said that racing across dunes or up and down the sand not only damages the area, but it can become a safety issue for people who use the beach.

Although it has become common practice to drive on the two and a half miles of beach within the park, state officials remind the public that this is illegal.

The DLNR Division of State Parks has erected new signs to better define where it is okay to drive.

Besides damaging the dunes and surrounding vegetation, the destruction of Polihale is especially emotional for Native Hawaiians who call this area home.

Raylene “Sissy” Kahale’s family has been living in the area for generations. “You don’t go to the bathroom at the same place you sleep or eat off. This place is so sacred. I don’t think people realize the mana that it brings and gives. When you come here it feels like coming home,” she said.

The state closed the park for most of 2020 after a large, illegal party last year, but it has since reopened.

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