homepage logo

Community input sought for Draft Honolua to Honokohau Management Plan

By BY LOUISE ROCKETT - | Jul 9, 2021

The Honolua to Honokohau Management Plan covers the makai lands for the Honolua and Honokohau Ahupua‘a. Mark Deakos took this photo of empty Honolua Bay in September 2020.

WEST MAUI — “Overtourism” may well be one of the most unlikely side-effects of COVID-19.

Or not?

It’s an inflammatory condition stemming from chronic, deep-seeded pockets of greed, gnawing away at the culture.

Cries of overuse and abuse can be heard across Hawaii Nei from the Road to Hana to the beaches at Hanalei.

Unfortunately, the West Side has not been spared. Our treasured wild along the rugged north shore has been threatened by this ugly scourge; Honolua Bay is under attack.

But it may not be too late — the Honolua to Honokohau Management Plan may save the day.

As a contractor for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the makai conservation stewardship coordinator for the Pu’u Kukui Watershed, Les Potts is an eyewitness six days a week. Potts is keen-sighted when it comes to Honolua Bay and points north. He described the current situation.

“There are more tourists now than there ever was. They’re just all over the place. They come down in droves in the morning. If you’re not there by seven, you’re not going to find a place to park. “Before Covid there was about 1,000 tourists a day, and now there is up to 2,000. They park at all the lookouts and walk down to the bay. The police drive out there only on occasion to ticket cars parked in no parking zones and in the bike lanes.”

The 70-plus-year-old veteran bay surfer is not idle. He has ideas on how to resolve issues, like “limit the number of people who come down there or build a parking lot and charge tourists for parking.”

Potts has participated in a working group the past three years, assisting in the composition of the Draft Honolua to Honokohau Management Plan (Draft HHMP), a comprehensive proposal involving community stakeholders, Honolua and Honokohau ‘ohana and the several divisions of the DLNR. John Summers of Planning Consultants Hawaii is the team facilitator.

In an e-mail to Lahaina News, he wrote: “We recently distributed an advanced copy of the Draft HHMP to our West Maui political leaders and Working Group members. We are now beginning to expand the distribution.”

The Lahaina News received a copy of the Executive Summary, two pages of the 77-page document.

The community is fortunate to have the opportunity to contribute to the Draft HHMP and stay one step ahead in the battle against the overtourism phenom.

The HHMP is a management plan for the makai lands for Honolua and Honokohau Ahupua’a.

This treasured resource is described “as home to abundant marine life, terrestrial plants, wildlife, cultural resources and ocean recreation.

“The nearly four-mile coastline is one of the last remaining undeveloped expanses of its kind on Maui.”

The purpose of the Draft HHMP is to provide a comprehensive strategy for stewardship of this ‘aina, located “makai of Honoapiilani Highway and includes Honolua Bay, Kulaokae’e’a (the headland and coastal areas between Līpoa Point and Punalau), Keonehelele’i Beach, and portions of Honokōhau Bay.”

The plan has a vision with core strategies recommended that will lead to implementation, including: 1) building and maintaining management capacity; 2) protection of the area’s sense of place; 3) creation of a safer environment; 4) management of human activities: and 5) protection and restoration of cultural resources.

Summers advised, “Our next steps will be providing a final presentation (of the Draft HHMP) to the public in August/September.”

There will be additional opportunities for public input during the Environmental Assessment process, expected to commence in Winter 2021.

Summers can be reached at jsummers@planningconsultantshawaii.com.

Look for announcements in the Lahaina News about dates of the public meetings.