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Kiholo State Park Reserve master plan proposed

March 28, 2014 - 12:05am

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing a master plan for Kiholo State Park Reserve that would leave it largely in its natural state.

The plan allows for new campsites and an improved access area off Queen Kaahumanu Highway at the 4,359-acre reserve in North Kona.

Basic sanitation facilities would also be added near campsites. The plan does not propose upgrading the access roads, which are not paved.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider accepting the plan today.

The document says it’s the state’s preference to encourage visitors to walk from the highway to control the amount of use.

“The preferred alternative involves very limited construction and would have minor impacts on the topography, geology and soils within the park,” DLNR staff wrote to the board.

“These impacts would primarily be the result of the construction of the new park entrance above Kiholo Bay, and the new entrance and parking area (in a cleared area) above Keawaiki Bay.”

The plan says that while access to the area would not entirely be restricted to pedestrians, the intent is to maintain Kiholo as a “quiet retreat for families and groups and from which visitors could stage their exploration of the adjacent bay, shoreline area, trails, and other natural and cultural features.”

Currently, camping is allowed at eight sites with a permit. Six additional campsites could be added, the plan says.

DLNR issued 376 camping permits in fiscal year 2012. There were 1,861 campers.

Unauthorized camping had been a problem at the site. In 2011, DLNR closed the area for two months to clean up areas damaged by illegal camping and squatting.

BLNR will also consider granting a permit to Hui Aloha Kiholo for an interpretive center at the reserve.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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