State adds more fees and restrictions on kayaking

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Mar 04 2013 10:41:00 PM HST

The Department of Land and Natural resources in Hawaii said it's to protect the wildlife, but kayak companies say it's hurting their business.

KAILUA, Hawaii -

There are more fees and restrictions on kayaking. The Department of Land and Natural Resources said it's to protect the wildlife, but kayak companies say it's hurting their business.

Kayaking out to Flat Island or the Mokulua Islands and bringing that kayak onto the shore now will cost you more. Renting a kayak and going on your own will cost an extra $3 -- guided tours an added $5.

"This fee will help us to hire personnel and have resources to be able to manage these areas," said David Smith with the DLNR.

The DLNR hopes the revenue will help protect the state's sea bird sanctuaries, their nesting grounds, and other wildlife on the islands, in part by tracking the amount of commercial activity.

"There's other folks that rent out of their yard out of the back of their truck, and they are cash kind of people, and we are hoping to reign those operators in," said Smith.

In addition to the fee, the DLNR has also banned commercial kayak activity on Sundays. It's a restriction on top of a fee that one kayak company said they've been on board with now for months.

"I think the actual fact that the customer has to purchase a permit makes it very much aware that there is existing wildlife sanctuary rules," said Edgar Klemmer with Kailua Surfboards and Rentals.  

But others say the Sunday ban will severely hurt their bottom line.

"A lot of people have Sundays off and we get a large percentage of our business from the other side of the island. On Sunday, their day off they come over and they want to go paddle," said Jeff Tobias with Windward Watersports.

If you own your own kayak your in the clear. You can paddle out anytime, without a fee, but some like Jeff Tobias say that's just not fair.

"If you are coming over for the weekend to paddle, if you don't own your own kayak you have to pay, which kind of discriminates. If you aren't privileged enough to own a water craft," said Tobias.

The DLNR said it will try to enforce the rules to the best of its abilities. Right now kayak companies need to buy paper permits every day, but the DLNR is working on having an online system soon.

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