State law enforcement officers conducted a sweep this week at the Sand Island State Recreation Area following complaints of squatters yelling at people and dogs chasing people.
Officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement cleared 42 illegal campsites at the recreation area, state officials said today.
>> PHOTOS: Homeless sweep executed on Sand Island
Bicycle parts, welding equipment, tools, generators and cooking utensils were among the items hauled away during the clean-up.
Contractors removed about 190 tons of trash in three days, according to Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman Dan Dennison with the.
Though camping at Sand Island is allowed with a permit, nearly 100 people were illegally camping there.
Pua Aiu, homeless coordinator with the land agency, said, “This is a public beach and we’ve been getting complaints that dogs are chasing people and squatters are yelling at people.”
A notice to vacate was posted at the recreation area a week before the cleanup. Outreach workers also offered shelter and other services to homeless people but many declined assistance, Aiu said.
“It’s frustrating because most people on DLNR lands refuse any help or services. We realize in Hawaii it’s tough for many people to afford housing. Some people make a conscience decision that they just want to camp,” she said.
The state will store personal items removed from Sand Island for 30 days.