Lihu‘e, Kaua‘i – Following recent successes in both enforcement and management efforts that have substantially reduced the number of illegal campers, the DLNR Division of State Parks will reinstitute the allowance of additional overnight camping permits for the popular Kalalau Trail, within the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kaua‘i.
Twenty additional nightly permits will be available between May 15-October 31, 2018, when weather and surf conditions are typically calmer. In keeping with previous policy to provide an opportunity for local residents to enjoy this world-renowned experience, permits will be issued first to walk-in applicants at the the Lihu‘e State Parks office 28 days in advance of the available dates. On the following day, any remaining permits will be available to anyone via DLNR’s online permit reservation system.
The first day these peak season permits will be available to walk-in applicants is Tuesday, April 17, for camping beginning May 15. Permits can be obtained for a maximum of five nights, and a maximum of four people.
“We’re really pleased to be able to add additional capacity for camping in Napali”, said DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case. “People have been asking for us to reinstate the policy, but it would have been irresponsible to invite more people in legally when the illegal use and associated impacts to the environment, cultural resources and our infrastructure were too great. Thanks to the sustained effort from our enforcement division and our field crews, as well as a welcome social media backlash against the illegal transient community, Kalalau is now ready to host a few more visitors.”
Over 500,000 visitors a year hike the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail, but permits to trek beyond Hanakapi’ai and overnight on the trail at Hanakoa or Kalalau are limited to 60 permitted persons per night. The additional permits will up that legal limit to 80 during the summer and early fall.
State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell added, “Given the long history of illicit use of Napali, this decision was not easy. Maintaining control in such an isolated and difficult place to access and manage is always tenuous. We’ve been advocating for additional park staff positions for Napali, and it looks like we’ll be getting them soon, which contributed to us offering these additional opportunities. We’ll have new tools and more eyes and ears on the coast and will be evaluating the impacts of this increased capacity. We hope this will allow more Kaua’i families to experience Napali, and that respectful users will allow us to continue it in future years.”