LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — A Hawaii group is counting vehicles approaching a state park on the island of Kauai as it looks to help regulate visitor traffic.
Kuhio Highway Regulation intends to monitor the number of rental cars on the highway leading to Haena State Park, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.
Kauai residents formed the group because of frustration with state and county efforts to reduce the harmful effects of visitor traffic around the park, which boasts popular beaches, hiking trails and waterfalls.
The group said not enough tourists have been informed of the need for advance reservations to enter the park since Kuhio Highway reopened to the public in June, more than a year after devastating floods struck.
The group said 400 rental cars headed to the park July 4, while only about 100 of those had parking passes.
More than half of the visitor spots in the park's 100-space parking lot were empty, and Kauai police did not ticket cars parked along the highway across from Haena Beach, the group said, attributing it to conflicting state Department of Transportation parking signs.
"Although the intention by the state of Hawaii to limit impact is honorable, visitors continue to traverse the stretch of rural roadway and its fragile infrastructure, only to be turned around at the end of the road due to a lack of reservation or parking pass," the group said in a statement.
Last month, frustrated residents physically blocked tourists from reaching Haena State Park for a few hours until police intervened.
The transportation department believes the parking restrictions are being enforced, spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige said.
Kauai Police Department officials were not immediately available to comment.