Famous Polihale Beach on Kauai will once again welcome visitors. The Polihale Beach closure by DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) happened in July due to park policies not being followed by locals. This included 1,000 people camping there on a weekend that had only 80 permits and trucks racing on dunes that had ancient Hawaiian burial sites. While it hasn’t reopened yet, all signs are there.
Since the closure, there have been meetings with cultural groups to discuss the park’s future. In the interim, they have been allowed access to help clean the area and continue their work as caretakers for the cultural sites around the dunes.
Polihale is more than just a spectacular and remote beach with miles of sand touching the famous Na Pali. It is also rooted deeply in Native Hawaiian culture. Both its beauty and historical significance must work together in harmony with respect for the land. If that doesn’t happen, DLNR promises to keep the park closed.
But now Kauai is getting another chance to prove it can honor all aspects of Polihale. We have heard that new signage is being placed with rules to be followed, thirty-speed bumps have been installed on the access road, and for now, overnight camping may have to wait.
Some proposals on the table are a permit entry system that is similar to what we have seen on Kauai with access to Haena and Kee beaches on the North Shore. Long term solutions include improvement projects to protect the dunes.
According to Curt Cottrell, state parks administrator, “We are trying to determine how much people really care about Polihale’s natural and cultural resources. Reopening with new guidelines is an opportunity to see.”
If Polihale reopens in the next few weeks, we will update this post with the announcement.