Kauai base opening up fishing and surf spots
BARKING SANDS, Kauai » Just in time for the Fourth of July festivities, the Navy is allowing a bit more access to civilians at the Pacific Missile Range Facility.
Starting tomorrow, at the annual fireworks show, the Navy will unveil a new pass that will allow more access to areas on the base, including fishing and surfing areas currently difficult to access and entry into the base bar and restaurant Shenanigan's.
There are four main changes to the policy, said Tom Clements, the facility's public affairs officer.
The new "guest card" will replace the recreation pass currently offered by the base. The new card, which will come with a $20 fee, will require a federal background check, as opposed to the current statewide check. It will also allow part-time residents and those on extended stays to apply, Clements added.
The other changes allow access to fishing and surfing areas. At Kini Kini Point, a popular fishing area, a parking lot will be opened to the public to allow access into the special fishing area. Currently, fishermen have to walk about a mile from the Major's Bay parking lot along the sand, with all their gear, to the spot.
At the other end of the base, Shenanigan's will be open to the public, and the parking lot also can be used by surfers to get to the area fronting base housing. To get there currently, it requires about a mile walk along the sand.
Current recreation pass holders will be able to use their card for the same access privileges until it expires, Clements added.
Bruce Pleas, a west side resident who surfs the area fronting the base regularly, said the changes are steps in the right direction, the most important of which is the access to Kini Kini's.
"As for surfing, it wasn't that bad" to walk the mile from Major's Bay to the housing area, Pleas said. But the new plan is "especially good for the fishermen."
Pleas added that he would like to see a bit more walking access to other surf breaks fronting the base, especially those on the south end of the base, near Kokele Point. And while he acknowledged the new system allows part-time residents "a more fair system," he hopes that those who have new access to the base will be good stewards of the land and won't venture out into restricted areas.
But it's a step up from the complete closure after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Clements said the new policy is a combination of retooling security capabilities on the base and the presence of new base commander, Capt. Mark Darrah, who took over in April.
"It was the right time to make a change," Clements said.