Put Kaena Point in hands of parks service, not vandals


POSTED: Thursday, November 20, 2008

It is inexcusable that Kaena Point is controlled by a small group of vandals who use it, abuse it and rule it by intimidation to the exclusion of the public.

Kaena Point should be controlled by the National Park Service and accessible to all. The NPS could be the perfect custodian for the wonderfully scenic shoreline at Kaena Point, which should be accessible to everyone.

Many years ago I took my group of Scouts around Kaena Point in my VW van, which had a narrow enough track to make it from Makaha all the way to Mokuleia around the point. We filled the van with rubbish we picked up along the way.

This area is the most idyllic shoreline on Oahu—but it is controlled by lawless, self-serving people who want to keep almost everyone else out, who disrespect the aina, endanger native flora and fauna, and keep Kaena Point as their private turf. Kaena Point should be accessible to and enjoyed by everyone, and it should be protected.

There are other scenic shoreline areas in the U.S. that are—or at least were—similar in situation to Kaena Point. One is California's Pebble Beach protected shore called 17-Mile-Drive, a perfect example to apply here because it has the controlled, manned security gate at each entrance—that should be installed at Kaena Point. Access fees support gates/rangers that monitor all the vehicles in and out and no parking is allowed except in designated areas.

NPS controlled-access to Kaena Point is the ideal way to solve the “;dead end, no way out”; situation that plagues the Leeward Oahu-Waianae-Makaha areas—a region that has been described as a “;neglected stepchild”; of Oahu. Public infrastructure improvements are long overdue for this area, as is alternative traffic access.

By creating an NPS controlled/monitored scenic drive from Makaha around Kaena Point to Mokuleia, the park service can be catalyst to helping turn an often-called “;stagnant”; community around by instilling pride as being the host to a wonderful, scenic shoreline area that both visitors and residents will enjoy and utilize. The benefits of an NPS-controlled Kaena Point seashore also would bring a much-needed economic boon to the local community.

It's time to take Kaena Point back from the vandals by putting it in the hands of the National Park Service, for the benefit of all.


John Michael White is president of Hawaii Land Company.