Lonely Planet Writer

Hawaii might see big changes around Kaua‘i’s North Shore if plans go ahead

This week state and local representatives from Hawaii will meet to discuss proposed changes for the Island of Kaua‘i’s popular North Shore region and one of Hawaii’s busiest state parks.

The shoreline of the Na Pali Coast in Kauai.
The shoreline of the Na Pali Coast in Kauai. Image by Lonely Planet

Currently, Ha‘ena State Park is the “end of the road” for visitors exploring the North Shore by car. It marks the end of the Kuhio Hwy and the beginning of the Kalalau Trail, a rugged, eleven-mile-long footpath that runs the length of the Na Pali CoastThe park features a beach, a heiau (a Hawaiian shrine) and wet caves. Parking is limited, and the area is often overrun with traffic at peak times.

A post shared by Clint Hardin (@clinthardindc) on Jan 13, 2017 at 1:25pm PST

But a new master plan for Ha’ena State Park would upgrade the parking lot, add a welcome pavilion and restrooms, as well as limit daily visitors at 900. The plan also leaves open a possibility for a concession agreement for a shuttle to bring visitors to the park.

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Another proposed feature is a four-foot-wide aluminum bridge over Hanakapi’ai Stream, which currently only features a rugged trail. The stream frequently floods, trapping hikers. During one incident in 2013, 54 hikers were trapped and one was swept out to sea when she tried to cross the flooded stream. The changes are not roundly supported, however. In a recent poll by The Garden Island, a majority of respondents said a bridge would disrupt the beauty of the natural area.
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