Camping will got more expensive in Oahu

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Feb 16 2013 05:08:00 PM HST

Oahu now requires campers to pay for a minimum of three nights if they want to camp at a city location.

HONOLULU -

Camping will got more expensive in Oahu. Now you'll have to pay to enjoy an overnight stay on city campgrounds.

Camping permits at city parks get reserved within hours during busy holiday weekends.

"I think if maybe they make people pay for it, It might be fair for people who actually want to camp they can actually get a spot," said Leah Frost who could not get a permit in time.

That is exactly what the city plans to do starting March 1. If you want to camp at a city location you will have to pay for a minimum of three nights. That will cost $32.

"It's hard to enforce if someone just comes in for just one night, let's say Saturday night and they may stay on Sunday also. How do you know? And really most people want it for the three-day weekend," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The mayor said the fees will make the sites available for more people.  

"It tends to be the same people. They just go and reserve it over, and over, and over. If they have to pay a fee some of these people may not want to pay a fee and it will open up to others," said Caldwell.

The fees might also make it more difficult for the homeless to set up house in city parks.

"Sometimes the homeless don't want to move into a shelter they prefer to be on a beautiful beach...but I have to say the [home-owning] residents also have a right to be on the beach too. We need to bring that equity," said Caldwell.

The city hopes to use the revenue to upgrade and maintain camping facilities and to hire officers to enforce permitting. But, those aren't good enough reasons for some campers.

"I'll head to the mountains, I'll go find a spot where it's free, I'm not going to pay $32 to come camp that's just ridiculous," said Nicholas Rodgers.

There are a total of 17 city parks on Oahu. The city auditor expects Honolulu to gain $180,000 annually from the new fees.

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