For immediate release: February 7, 2022
PERPETUAL CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROVIDES ACCESS TO HĀWEA POINT ON MAUI’S WEST COAST
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(KAPALUA, MAUI) – A clash between private property rights and access to recreation along the rugged Nāpili coast highlights the competing interests and strong emotions often evident in these disputes.
Last Friday, a trio of officers from DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) met with two representatives of the Hawai’i Land Trust, which holds a conservation easement at Hāwea Point. The owner of an adjacent home in the area reacted to loud noise and the use of alcohol and drugs among young people jumping from shore cliffs and into the ocean, by putting up now defaced and official-looking signs and posting a security guard. Activity under the house is monitored by a security camera.
Shae Kamaka’ala is Director of ʻĀina Protection and General Counsel for Hawai’i Land Trust. “This conservation easement, protecting public access and recreation in perpetuity, was created following a settlement agreement with the original developers and affected community groups. Hawai’i Land Trust adopted stewardship of this conservation easement in 2004, covering approximately two acres.
In recent weeks, DOCARE officers have been called to the area after landlord complaints, as well as pushback from ocean users who claim the landlord attempted to restrict ocean access by posting a security guard and installing signs.
Although land title and jurisdiction along this coastline is unclear, “the trail is on private property but water access is protected by the conservation easement,” explained James Crowe, ʻĀina Stewardship Manager for Hawai’i Land Trust. “As you approach the part of the trail where you can see the Cliff House, the entire makai (ocean side) of the trail is state property. The concrete pad where the owner’s security guard sits is property private, protected for public access and recreational use The platform makai land is public land, but the land above this portion of the trail is privately owned, not subject to the conservation easement .
Hawai’i Land Trust asked the owner to no longer have a security guard on site.
“Public access and recreational use protected by conservation easements are limited by laws restricting recreational use, whether county, state or federal laws,” Kamaka’ala commented. . These rules include no playing loud music or using drugs and alcohol. Visitors should also be aware that there are no trash cans or toilets at Hāwea Point and should plan accordingly to avoid impacting land or water in any way.
Kamaka’ala added, “Shoreline access is a right derived from the traditional and customary use of Hawaii’s native peoples. Hawaiʻi Land Trust understands that Hāwea Point is an important icehouse for the ʻohana (families) of this region and possibly resting places of ʻiwi kūpuna. We ask all who enjoy, live in and use the area for access and recreation to also respect and acknowledge those who have gone before them.
Hāwea Point is one of many places in Maui and the state where large groups of people tend to congregate. We ask everyone at Hawea Point, whether property owners or recreational users, to respect everyone’s right to enjoy their private property and use public lands there,” said DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla. .
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Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources