The Department of Land and Natural Resources is marking the 15th anniversary of the tragedy at Sacred Falls State Park on Mother's Day.
On May 9, 1999, a massive rockslide killed eight people and injured about 50 others. Following that incident, DLNR closed the park, locked the entrance and posted and maintained numerous signs indicating the park’s closure and hazardous conditions.
Officials say hikers still take to trail and have seen a recent rise in citations for unauthorized entry. The event aims to underscore the danger of falling rocks that caused the closure.
“So many of us remember the loss, pain, and suffering that ensued at Sacred Falls 15 years ago,” said Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. “Yet, people continue to illegally hike in the park, ignoring DLNR’s clear signage and exposing themselves to possible injury or death, and criminal citation.”
From March to April 2014, the DLNR issued about 30 citations for prohibited entry into Sacred Falls State Park, many of which involved out-of-state residents or U.S. military personnel.
One incident in March 2014 necessitated search and rescue efforts by DLNR and the Honolulu Fire Department. During the past two years, DLNR and HFD have conducted four search and rescue operations in Sacred Falls State Park, some of which involved bodily injury.
Entry into Sacred Falls State Park and any other closed state park is a petty misdemeanor crime punishable in court with fines of a minimum $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $500 for a third or subsequent offense.
The BLNR is able to pursue civil administrative penalties of up to $2,500 for a first violation, $5,000 for a second violation, and $10,000 for a third or subsequent violation.
“We encourage people to enjoy the many other state parks and trails that are open and accessible to the public, such as the trails managed by the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife under the N? Ala Hele Trail Access system,” said Dan Quinn, administrator for the DLNR Division of State Parks.
Here are some sources with lists of sanctioned trails: