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Hanauma Bay rule change bars walk-in entry

  • STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Hanauma Bay

    STAR-ADVERTISER

    Hanauma Bay

Starting Saturday, aspiring visitors to Hanauma Bay will only be able to enter by vehicle through the gates at the nature preserve’s turn-off at Kalanianaole Highway; walk-in entry will no longer be allowed due to safety concerns, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation announced in a press release Friday.

An online reservation system is also being developed by DPR in collaboration with the Honolulu Department of Information Technology, the release said.

The safety concerns arose out of the reopening pilot program, which launched Dec. 2 with a restricted admission cap of 720 people a day, down from 3,000 a day before the preserve’s novel coronavirus closure in March.

In December, residents of Nawiliwili Street, which lies off Kalanianaole Highway between Lunalilo Home Road and the entrance to the bay, complained of being inundated by Hanauma Bay pedestrian and vehicular traffic since the preserve’s reopening.

“We have heard the concerns from the neighboring community and visitors to the nature preserve regarding some of the problems with visitors parking in the residential areas, walking along the busy Kalaniana‘ole Highway, and gathering near the Hanauma Bay entrance,” said DPR Director-Designate Laura H. Thielen in a statement.

“We hope these adjustments to the pilot reopening help to alleviate these concerns as we pursue an online reservation system and improve our management of this magnificent natural resource,” Thielen said, adding that DPR may make further adjustments to entry procedures if additional issues arise.

Upon reaching the entrance off Kalanianaole Highway, visitors will be directed into the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve parking area and receive tickets designating the order in which they entered, including a pre-determined educational video show time.

While they await their show time, visitors will be able to either wait in the parking lot and upper area of the preserve, or leave temporarily but return with their ticket 15 minutes before their designated show time to ensure their entry into the theatre and beach.

The online reservation system is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2021.

All face mask, physical distancing, and gathering restrictions remain in effect, the release stated, including the daily capacity limit of 720 people, and no commercial activity allowed within the nature preserve.

The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is open to the public from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, with last entry into the preserve at 2 p.m.

Those needing special accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, are asked to call DPR at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email parks@honolulu.gov

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