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Sunday, March 31, 2013
DLNR Reopens Kealakekua Bay to Two Kayak Operators
By News Release @ 4:44 AM :: 5864 Views :: Environment, Small Business


Moratorium continues on other kayaks, floating vessels until permit system is completed

News Release from DLNR 3-30-13

HONOLULU -- The Department of Land and Natural Resources has approved permits for the return of two commercial kayak tour companies at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park as part of its multi-stage efforts to improve the management, quality and sustainability of this heavily visited and significant natural and cultural resource.

“Our primary objective is to protect Kealakekua State Historical Park’s deep cultural significance, the quality of its marine resources and balance the overall economic value to both the local community and the visitor industry,” said William J. Aila Jr., DLNR chairperson. “Restoration of two pre-existing commercial kayak vendor operations at this time is one of several management actions we are working toward to ensure the sustainability of this resource now and in the future,’ he said.

The Division of State Parks is now the sole authority for permitting the launching at Napoopoo and regulating the use of the water that was previously under the authority of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation

Starting April 1, 2013, firms Aloha Kayaks and Kona Boys are authorized to launch permitted commercial kayaks from Napoopoo Landing so guided tour clients may traverse Kealakekua Bay and land a limited number of patrons at Kaawaloa Flats. Revocable permits set conditions for these operations, including limitations on the number of landings and areas of use at Kaawaloa, number of customers per trip, and duration of landings.

"The kayak companies are also required to remove litter and rubbish and engage in other stewardship activities as determined by the Division of State Parks," said Dan Quinn, State Parks administrator.

The two commercial permittees may use the Napoopoo parking area under special use permits. Generally, vehicles are restricted at Napoopoo Landing, but pedestrian traffic is allowed

Division of State Parks has issued vessel drift in permits to allow transiting into KBSHP with conditions that such vessels may not:

· Deploy any additional water craft from the boat

· Discharge passengers at either Napoopoo Wharf or Kaawaloa (unless there is a vessel emergency)

· Contact or disturb any marine mammals and other ocean life within the Marine Life Conservation District in the bay.

Meanwhile, a moratorium put in place at the beginning of January this year continues. The moratorium continues to prohibit operating, launching, transiting, beaching or landing of kayaks and other vessels from Napoopoo, within the waters of Kealakekua Bay, and at Kaawaloa Flats until certain planned management and regulatory actions are completed to address proliferation and use of unpermitted kayak rentals being conducted at Napoopoo.

Also prohibited in the closed areas are other floatation devices and watercraft such as stand-up paddle boards, surfboards, and boogie boards. Swimming and snorkeling are allowed in the bay, but no landing at Kaawaloa will be permitted.

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