The road at Ka‘ena Point State Park, closed since President’s Day weekend, will remain closed until further notice to prevent illegal off-roading in muddy bogs created by heavy rains, according to state park officials.
While many fishermen use the rough, two-mile road to access North Shore waters, the bogs attract off-roading enthusiasts who cause damage with their four-wheel-drive vehicles, park officials said. The off-roading can result in huge craters, erosion, and subsequently, the flow of sediment into near-shore waters, damaging land and ocean alike.
“Unfortunately, after we clearly marked and designated the only roads in the park where driving is permissible, we’re still experiencing some drivers wanting to go off-road,” said Curt Cottrell, state parks administrator of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, in a news release, “meaning they are not staying on designated routes which were specifically designated to prevent the common practice known as mud-bogging.”
The state only allows drivers with vehicle permits — more than 7,000 were issued — to enter the park through a locked gate. But despite great efforts to designate roads for access to fishing spots, many permit holders were habitually ignoring them to go mud-bogging, said Cottrell.
“These areas just need a break from all of the abuse,” said Jamie Raduenzel, Ka‘ena Point outreach and education specialist. “Natural vegetation which helps prevent erosion gets torn up and mud holes get deeper and deeper. There are numerous instances where vehicles have been buried so deep in the mud they’ve had to be towed out.”
State law gives DLNR the authority to deny, cancel, or terminate permits of any driver who violate the permit conditions, which includes damaging natural resources and straying off designated trails and roads. Penalties include the confiscation of a vehicle and restitution for damage caused.