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How to find open Kaua‘i hiking trails

Editor’s note: This story was inspired by a question received via our COVID-19 Q&A series contact. If you have a question or tip, please share them with us at tinyurl.com/TGIQ-A.

LIHU‘E — All state parks, monuments, wilderness areas and recreational piers have been either fully or partially closed since Mar. 20 in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

That means no camping or lodging within parks and all filming, event or other special use permits have been suspended, according to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.

But what about trails?

It’s a question Koloa-resident Melody Paporto has had during these times.

“I didn’t want to drive all the way over to Koke’e State Park, go through a checkpoint and have to turn around [because the trail was closed],” she said.

Hiking and outdoor activity is a permitted activity per state and local stay-at-home mandates, and according to the DLNR, all Division Of Forestry and Wildlife managed trails or lands are open.

But, because many parks are closed, access to certain trailhead access or parking lots may also be restricted or closed.

“Hikers need to park and access DOFAW managed lands in a legal manner or else there could be ramifications if they don’t follow the rules,” a DLNR Communications Specialist clarified in an email Tuesday. Failure to follow these orders is a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or up-to a year of jail time.

Specific trails can be found on the Na Ala Hele Trails website. There, a pop-up warns of closures, and as a user digs through the site for specific trails, there will be more notices.

Nationwide, the National Park System has closed several sites including Yosemite and Yellowstone. In this time, without human foot traffic, animals have reclaimed the land. Reports from Yosemite have suggested the bear population coming out of hibernation has quadrupled.

More information on local trails and routes can be found on the Na Ala Hele Trails website at hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/trails/.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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