Another state park in Hawaii has begun charging a fee for visitors and more will soon follow. Yesterday, Akaka Falls State Park on the island of Hawaii (Big Island) began charging five dollars per car for non-residents. Commercial tour vehicles are also charged a fee that varies by the size of the van or bus. Hawaii residents who show an ID do not have to pay fees.
The Division of State Parks was authorized to begin setting either parking fees or entry fees at specific park locations in Hawaii for non-residents and commercial tours. The fees are an effort to avoid closing or reducing services at the parks. Currently, an entry fee is charged at Diamond Head State Monument and there is a parking fee at the Pali overlook (both on Oahu). In October, Iao Valley State Monument on Maui also began charging a parking fee.
In other news, improvement and restoration projects are continuing at Hawaii parks. Lava Tree State Monument on Hawaii Island reopened this week. It had been closed since September for tree trimming and road/parking lot reconstruction. Lava Tree is about three miles southeasat of Pahoa. It gets the name from a lava flow that swept through the forest and left behind lava molds of tree trunks. Future park improvements will add an informational kiosk, rebuild a pavilion and build a covered rest station. Those improvements are not yet scheduled.
Many Hawaii parks are closed for a few weeks during work projects, especially in the winter months. If you plan to visit a state or national park on your Hawaii vacation, it is good to check on its availability and to remain flexible.