Subject: Camping may be allowed at Ka'ena
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 8:05 AM
honoluluadvertiser.com article title: Camping may be allowed at Ka'ena
[Click here to see related article about a meeting.]
By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser North Shore Writer
State officials are considering opening Ka'ena Point to camping and are looking at ways to improve management of the area, one of the last accessible wilderness areas on O'ahu.
Management of Ka'ena Point has undergone rule changes to protect the environment and wildlife there. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources controls the area, which is known to have endangered native Hawaiian species clinging to life amid destructive human use.
"There are issues of off-road vehicle activity that need to be addressed," said Dan Quint, DLNR director of state parks. "There's some interest and discussion of possibly creating some places to camp."
The proposal will be discussed at a state-sponsored meeting next week at Camp Erdman in Mokule'ia.
The meeting follows complaints voiced last week by dozens of hunters and fishermen, claiming that one game warden there has been overbearing and has harassed people at Ka'ena State Park who have done nothing wrong. DLNR officials said they are looking into the matter.
Some of the problems may stem from rules that guide game wardens and an apparent attempt to keep the area clear of homeless people, said Michael Nawaki-O'Connell, whose family has roots in Ka'ena. Nevertheless, residents said neither the homeless nor others should be treated with disrespect.
Nawaki-O'Connell said his family has fished and camped there for more than 40 years. Because of the no-camping rules, fishermen who stay overnight are told it's illegal if even one of their children happens to fall asleep.
"They said it's a privilege to camp at the state park," Nawaki-O'Connell said. "I said it's a constitutional right."
Nawaki-O'Connell is referring to the state constitutional right to gather and hunt as was done in the Hawaiian tradition.
He said he has 7,000 signatures on a petition to allow fishermen to go night fishing with such camping gear as blankets, portable cots and shelters, which are now prohibited by state park rules. Nawaki-O'Connell said he will take his concerns to next week's meeting.
Instead of picking on cultural practitioners, the state should be going after people who harm the environment, such as off-road drivers, said Hawaiian cultural practitioner Summer Nemeth.
Nemeth said her family was cited while they were practicing their Hawaiian culture and teaching their children to care for the land. Instead, the DLNR should be learning from the practitioners and fishermen, she said.
"What I'd like to see happen is for DLNR to recognize that fishermen and cultural practitioners are interested in managing Ka'ena in a right way, a pono way ... to work together in partnership to make sure the place can be used by everyone in the right way and not just for fishermen and cultural practitioners, but people who want to come out and see the beauty of the place."
Reach Eloise Aguiar at firstname.lastname@example.org.