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The Na Pali Coast State Wildlife Park on the Hawaiian island of Kauai will be closed for two months this fall. During September and October, crews will work to make the park safer for hikers and to protect archaeological and cultural sites.
The Na Pali Coast is a strikingly beautiful area on the north coast of Kauai that is not accessible by automobile. You can catch a glimpse of it from a parking area overlook, but most people prefer to take a tour by helicopter or boat to fully appreciate the view. It is also a very popular, if challenging, hiking destination. The park closure affects ground access only.
The chairperson of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) calls the closure “unprecedented”, saying it is an effort to improve one of the most popular wilderness camping areas in the world. In a news release, Laura Thielen says the closure “will provide us the opportunity to address a variety of long-overdue, critical public safety and natural and cultural resource management issues.”
Apparently, some of the issues are unwelcome people, animals and rocks. The park cleanup will involve clearing out illegal campsites and reducing the number of feral goats and pigs. Designated areas for campsites will be spruced up. A rockfall mitigation project will be undertaken above the Hoolea waterfall and shoreline sea cave areas. This project will permanently close campsites near the waterfall and sections of a trail near the helipad where rockfalls are common. The Kalalau Trail will be restored and safety devices installed.
In addition to the cleanup, crews will monitor and survey archaeological and cultural sites, including replacing signs that provide directions, warnings and information about the sites.
The closure affects Kauai’s north shore from Hanakapiai to Kalalau Valley from September 7 through October 31, 2010.