In the wake of the horrendous slaughter of albatross in late 2015, I introduced legislation to place educational and enforcement personnel at Kaena State Park. During its hearing in committee, SB3065 helped draw attention to the shortage of enforcement officers throughout Hawaii and drew special attention to the need for active, personal outreach at Kaena Point.
Following the 2016 session, the Department of Land and Natural Resources re-allocated funds within its Division of Forestry and Wildlife to hire a new outreach and education specialist for Kaena Point. Jaime Raduenzel is that person.
Jaime engages residents and visitors to help them avoid destructive activities such as mud bogging and off-road driving that rips up vegetation and causes erosion harmful to the reefs. She ensures compliance with the vehicle permit system and helps keep an eye on endangered and threatened species. Jaime has already secured grants for new projects that will benefit the park.
The outreach specialist has far more work to do than any person could possibly accomplish alone, so she is looking for volunteers who may be interested in joining various work days to remove invasive plants, protect native species, and other tasks. There are some positive improvements to vegetation and the coastline beyond the gate, but there is still much work to be done. Volunteers are encouraged to email their name, contact information and interests to Jaime.L.Raduenzel@hawaii.gov
Of course, this work builds upon the efforts of so many community members and volunteers who came before and continue to protect this area. The Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve has rebounded wonderfully with vegetation and wildlife since the construction of the predator fence. Army Beach is much nicer since vehicular access was restricted and the vegetation has returned.
Vehicular access beyond the end of the paved road has been managed through a gate and permitting system established in 2014. Permits are free and easy to request through DLNR.hawaii.gov/dsp/oahu. The dirt and rocky road is only suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles, yet more than 6000 vehicles are now registered. No permits are necessary to walk into the gated section of the park.
More and more people come to this area every day. What was once a quiet, almost desolate, stretch of coastline is now enjoyed by thousands of beach goers every weekend. Some folks are unaware of the hazards left behind by bonfires like hot coals and hidden nails. Others do not realize the threat dogs pose to endangered birds. Thankfully, we now have a specialist on the job to kindly educate people and to foster better management of this precious asset, Kaena Point State Park.