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Representative McKelvey Calls on DLNR to Protect West Maui Beach Access

Photo: DLNR

Following up on recent public complaints on denial of beach access in the Ka‘anapali beach area, Representative Angus L.K. McKelvey has written a letter to Suzanne D. Case, Director of the State Department of Land & Natural Resources, asking the state to “step up and take responsibility” for protecting the public use of the area.

“Reports include resorts, and/or vendors, placing unused chairs, umbrellas, and other traditionally rented seaside gear along much of the beach to ‘reserve’ space for hotel guests,” said Rep. McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei). “Our public beaches are legally protected and the public’s access should be unfettered. Attempts of this nature to reserve beach space disallows the general public’s use and enjoyment of that space, and is unacceptable.”

McKelvey said the issue is especially significant to him not only because he is a State Representative, but is also a life-long Maui resident, born and raised in Lahaina.

“I have spent my life frequenting these very same beaches. While we want to support our visitor industry, and related activities, the right of the public access use at all times is paramount,” McKelvey said in his letter. “We have mechanisms already in place to ensure fair and equal public access. Enforcement is the key missing component. As such, it is paramount that existing laws and regulations be vigorously enforced by your department.”

News coverage of these incidents have said the DLNR does not have the manpower to enforce the regulations within the Ocean Recreation Management Area (ORMA).

“While I can appreciate and support the need for more resources to adequately enforce all areas of Hawaii, the ORMA of Ka’anapali is under the sole authority of the DLNR. Because we – the legislature – fund management of these areas through the budget, it is incumbent upon your department to enforce these rules,” he said.

McKelvey asked that the DNRL investigate the recent incidents and that the results be sent to his office.

Copy of the letter to the DLNR Chief can be read here: img-103120211-0001

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