Lighting the way


POSTED: Sunday, February 15, 2009

The state wants to charge tourists at the Makapuu trail and other sites and use the cash to improve facilities as part of its “;Renaissance Plan”;

Question: I recently went hiking up the Makapuu Lighthouse/Ka Iwi trail, and it was beautiful. My only complaint is that there were no bathrooms in the lower parking lot or on top by the lookout. I think this is unsanitary as everyone just went in the bushes to relieve themselves. Can the state put a “;porta-potty”; on the lower and upper end so people don't have to do this?

Answer: No such relief is in sight.

No restroom facility is planned any time soon along the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail, which is within the Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline area. Neither are there plans to install portable toilets.

However, there is a proposal to charge entry fees there for nonresidents.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources' State Parks Division is “;looking at some type of facilities”; as part of the proposed “;Recreational Renaissance Plan”; that it is presenting to the Legislature and public, spokeswoman Deborah Ward said.

But the $4 million in planned capital improvement projects for the Ka Iwi area are for lookouts and road reconstruction.

“;For the immediate future, there are no available funds to provide porta-potties at the Makapuu Lighthouse trail,”; Ward said. “;Porta-potties are considered operating expenses since maintenance is the main cost involved.”;

No restrooms or drinking water are provided within the Ka Iwi area because it is designated an “;unimproved wilderness area.”;

What to do?

People who plan to hike the trail are asked to go to a restroom before or after a visit “;to help preserve an enjoyable natural area for everyone,”; Ward said.

The Lingle administration says the Recreational Renaissance Plan aims “;to restore, reinvigorate and preserve our parks, trails and ocean recreation facilities; enhance our environmental and cultural assets; and maintain our recreational infrastructure.”;

The plan proposes to spend $240 million to improve state recreational areas, including $72.6 million for 73 capital improvement projects on Oahu: $43.4 million for land-based recreation and $29.2 million for ocean-based recreation.

The plan also proposes spending $63.3 million for Kauai, $40.9 million for Maui County and $58.3 million for the Big Island.

Among the “;major initiatives to expand and enhance recreational opportunities”; is the proposed creation of two new ocean recreation parks on Oahu:

» Keehi Lagoon Triangle, a new marina with slips, ocean education facilities, canoe club storage and practice area, boat ramps and dry dock, and a beach park and picnic area.

» Sand Island Ocean Recreation Park, integrated with improvements to the current state park, with a boat ramp, club pavilion, camping and picnic areas, fishing area, marina with slips, and walking and bike trails.

To help pay for the overall ambitious plan, the Lingle administration is proposing to generate $3 million annually by leasing nearly 124,000 acres of public lands; $4 million annually by increasing small-boat harbor fees; allowing limited commercial use in Ala Wai and Keehi harbors; and charging entry fees for nonresidents at eight “;high tourist”; areas.

Those areas are Nuuanu Pali and Ka Iwi on Oahu; Iao and Makena on Maui; Kekaha Kai and Akaka Falls on the Big Island; and Kokee/Waimea and Haena on Kauai.

The proposal also includes generating $6 million in new revenues within six years from vacant lands “;with high development potential, to be developed through public-private partnerships.”;

The Department of Land and Natural Resources began holding public informational meetings on the plan on Friday on Kauai. The next scheduled meeting is from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Maui Waena Intermediate School cafeteria on Maui.

Other meetings will be announced as they are scheduled, Ward said.

For more details on the plan, go to hawaii.gov/dlnr/recreate.


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