State wants tourists to pay fees at 8 parks


POSTED: Sunday, November 01, 2009

The state has proposed raising small boat harbor mooring rates and charging nonresidents to get into eight parks as part of a plan to pay for repair and maintenance at recreational facilities.

“;We have facilities that are literally falling apart,”; said Laura Thielen, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Public hearings to review the Recreational Renaissance Plan B start Tuesday at Kauai's Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School cafeteria, Molokai's Mitchell Pau'ole Center and the State Office Building's conference room A in Hilo.

Hearings will take place Wednesday at Maui's Maalaea's Seaflight Building and the Old Kona Airport Pavilion, Thursday at the Lanai Senior Center, and Nov. 9 at Oahu's Jefferson Elementary School in Kapahulu.

Hearings begin at 6 p.m., except on Lanai, where the meeting starts at 5 p.m.

Recreational Renaissance Plan B—named to reflect the Legislature's rejection of Gov. Linda Lingle's first plan—focuses on increasing fees, including mooring rates that would rise eventually by $3.47 a foot over five years.

State officials also propose a nonresident entry fee of $1 per walk-in and $5 per car at eight state parks.

The eight parks are Hapuna and Akaka Falls on Hawaii island, Makena State Park and Iao Valley State Monument on Maui, Kaiwi Scenic Shoreline at the Makapuu Lighthouse trail and the Nuuanu-Pali State Wayside Park on Oahu, and Haena State Park and Kokee-Waimea Canyon State Park on Kauai.

The plan also calls for increasing revenues through long-term leases of the state's vacant urban lands.

Within two years, the department says it can raise $4 million from the parking fees at the eight high-visitor parks and new and existing urban development leases.

Officials said another $4 million could be raised from higher mooring fees, harbor lands leases, and new and existing urban land leases.

Thielen said funding for state parks is far below money spent to maintain federal parks. She said about $70,000 per state park is spent in operation, compared to a federal park with a $4.5 million budget.

The plan does not have the proposed $240 million in capital improvement projects over five years, as submitted in the plan submitted to the Legislature.

Comments may be submitted via mail or e-mail if postmarked or e-mailed by Nov. 19. Send to Department of Land and Natural Resources, Attn: Recreational Renaissance Rules, P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, Hi 96809; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).