State removes nearly 11 tons of trash from Kalalau so far this year

Photo: DLNR

The state continues to dismantle illegal camps, as well as haul out trash and waste, from the Kalalau section of Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.

Since Jan. 1, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks maintenance staff on Kauai has gathered, bagged, and airlifted 10.92 tons of rubbish from the remote area.

At least monthly, regular clean-up operations, have resulted in between 520 pounds and 2,380 pounds of trash and waste being airlifted by helicopter out of the area. During some months, maintenance crews conducted two to four operations.

In June alone, during five clean-up days, helicopters sling-loaded nearly 7,000 pounds of trash and waste out of Kalalau.

“Clearly this huge quantity of rubbish was not carried in on the backs of people who obtained permits to hike the 11 miles into Kalalau,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “Over the past two years we’ve made significant progress in dismantling illegal, long-term camps both at Kalalau beach and in more remote locations in Kalalau Valley.”

State park staff continues to be concerned about environmental degradation and health risks associated with people defecating in the forest and along the streams in the park and the associated impacts to archeological sites from being modified for camping uses.

“In collaboration with the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, we’ve made it very clear that we have zero tolerance for illegal activity in our state’s largest and most remote state park,” Cottrell said.

The Division of State Parks plans to renew its request to the Hawaii State Legislature next year for permanent staffing at Kalalau to ensure higher quality of maintenance of the park’s wilderness character, protect cultural sites and to provide visitor information, as well as to maintain communications capability in case of emergencies and to report illegal activities to enforcement.

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