Two people wandered into a sensitive heiau on Kauai while searching for characters on the smartphone app Pokemon Go, according to a Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks employee.
Pokemon Go uses the phone’s GPS technology to find and capture animated creatures in real-world places.
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, heiau, or Hawaiian temples, were built by high chiefs and priests and dedicated to different gods for various purposes, including healing, peace, fertility and agricultural productivity.
Before approaching these sacred sites, HTA advises that people silently ask permission of the kupuna, or ancestors, give thanks and offer apologies for bringing any negativity to the site.
The DLNR reminded the public to practice good outdoor ethics: be safe, stay on designated trails and carry out what you carry in. Use electronic devices responsibly and in emergencies call for help. Distracted hiking can lead to accidents.
“We want and encourage people to enjoy all of the outstanding natural and cultural resources Hawaii has to offer,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “Given the release of Pokemon Go, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that these resources can and should be enjoyed in a pono way.”
Earlier this week, Honolulu police advised gamers to pay attention to their surroundings at all times and never play the game while driving, noting that using an electronic mobile device while driving is punishable by a $297 fine.