Thursday, July 24, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 3 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Thieves carting away koa trees at Kauai park, forest reserve

By Associated Press


LIHUE >> Authorities are investigating the theft of highly sought-after and valuable koa wood from state lands on Kauai, including Kokee State Park and the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve.

The amounts taken vary, said Deborah Ward, state Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman.

Thefts appear to be increasing and happening in areas more visible to department officials and the public, Ward told The Garden Island newspaper.

She declined to say how much wood was stolen or what measures, if any, the department is taking to deal with the thefts.

Ramona Costa saw large chunks carved out of a pair of koa trees when she returned home to Kauai from Maui this summer to spend a month in Kokee.

One tree was still standing, its trunk cut vertically to expose a dark red core. Fresh sawdust lay on the ground next to it.

“I held onto the trees and cried like a baby,” she said.

Chipper Wichman, National Tropical Botanical Garden CEO and a member of the Kokee State Park Advisory Council, said there is very little to deter theft of koa, which is often used to make expensive fine furniture and crafts.

Unless a person is caught in the act, it is nearly impossible to prove the wood was harvested illegally, he said.

The real threat of koa theft on the mountain is from people who have an organized plan to haul substantial amounts, he said.

Officials have considered putting an entry station at Kokee and Waimea Canyon state parks that would collect user fees from non-residents and increase security to deter thefts.

But the revised master plan for the parks only called for such a station to be staffed during the day.

The Kokee State Park Advisory Council also recently opted not to support an entry station.

More From The Star-Advertiser

Officials investigating theft of Kauai koa

 Print   Email   Comment | View 3 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
cartwright wrote:
To avoid the logging of the slow growing native koa, Hawaii should plant fast growing Australian Blackwood trees. Both are from the acia family and the wood is the same in appearance and quality from each other. I bet that much what sells as koa, is already made from the Australian version.
on October 2,2013 | 05:32AM
Anonymous wrote:
Will the Koa business owners be subject to a polygraph test regarding the wood they work with ?? Is it really that hard to pursue the origin ?? Where are they getting their wood from currently ??
on October 2,2013 | 06:55AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
SHAME on these thieves.
on October 3,2013 | 12:13AM