Back to the beach


POSTED: Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Marine Corps reopened Bellows Beach Park to beachgoers and campers yesterday afternoon under stricter rules and stepped-up enforcement for its use.

City and federal law enforcement worked together to educate the public about the new enforcement of beach rules yesterday.

Three police officers and several military soldiers patrolled the campsite on all-terrain vehicles.

Wilfred Ho of the city Department of Parks and Recreation handed out fliers at the entrance to Bellows to remind the public about the rules. The military posted signs stating beach rules, which prohibit alcoholic beverages, pets, open fires, soliciting, camping without a permit, parking in a nondesignated area, driving on the beach and dumping of any kind. The city is also posting a watchman at the entrance to prevent access between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“;I don't like (the rule about) not coming back in after 8. If you have a permit, you should be able to go in and out,”; said Maria Abbatiello, of Hawaii Kai. “;Other than that, everything else is fine with me.”;

Abbatiello has been camping at Bellows since she was 9 years old and did not think it was fair for the military to close the beach.

Bellows was closed to the public in June due to fights, alcohol and drug use, vehicle break-ins, illegal campfires, trash dumping and off-roading. Abbatiello said that instead of closing the beach, police officers should have set up their own tent and patrol on weekends. The city had a similar idea, setting up camp for two workers who will enforce the rules over the holiday weekend.

“;We'll be here for the first two to five weekends, trying to teach the public about the new rules,”; said Jacob Purdy, a parks and recreation foreman who will be camping over the weekend. “;If we still have to teach the public after that, we'll add three more weeks.”;

Russell Pascua of Waipahu has held the Casamina family reunion at Bellows every Fourth of July weekend for the past six years, and said he did not mind the new enforcement.

“;I've never seen it get crazy, but I feel better knowing there's no alcohol. It's safer, better for the kids,”; said Pascua, who agreed with the military's decision to close the beach last month.

“;It woke up people and future campers that they'd better take care of it or they can't come at all. Bellows is the only place (to camp) with nice, white, sandy beaches and shade. I want to keep coming here.”;

;[Preview]    Bellows Beach Reopened to the Public

Bellows reopens with stricter rules and stepped-up enforcement.

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