State law enforcement officers arrested 17 people in the Kalalau section of Napali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kauai in the past week for allegedly being in a closed area without a valid permit, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said today.
Among those arrested were three people who had been illegally residing in Kalalau Valley for long periods of time.
Officers from DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement made the arrests during a pair of sweeps in the park.
DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell said officials have been hearing about illegal activity at Kalalau through social media.
“Some of the behavior depicted on blogs and websites is brazen, clearly illegal, disrespectful to the Hawaiian culture, damaging to natural resources, and completely devoid of any appreciation for the wilderness character of the Napali Coast,” Farrell said in a statement.
State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said in a news release that as Hawaii’s largest and most remote state park, Napali has never had funding for any full-time staff on the Napali Coast.
Cottrell said: “If there’s any silver lining to what law breakers are posting on social media, is that it’s caused significant public outrage. Our hope is to get new positions and funding authorized specifically dedicated to the Napali Coast to tackle this ongoing issue.”