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NELHA gate reported open Monday afternoon

Karin Stanton/Hawaiii247 Contributing Editor

According to several reports, the jeep trail at NELHA was unlocked Monday afternoon. 

The issue was the subject of a public meeting last week, hosted by Sen. Josh Green and Rep. Denny Coffman and attended by hundreds of residents who demanded public access be restored at Kohanaiki.

Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority Executive Director Ron Baird perviously said the gate was locked, in part, because the state let lapse a security contract. This left NELHA’s four dozen tenants and their investments without after-hours guards, Baird said.

In a letter Green sent to Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority Executive Director Ron Baird, he called for the immediate and permanent reopening of the jeep road, which leads to the popular surf spot ‘Pine Trees.’

In that letter – made available to Hawaii247 late Monday – Green praised the reopening of the trail as a “wise move” and pledged support to Baird over lingering issues.

“If safety, security, archaeologic or conservation issues remain a concern for you at NELHA, know that I will be forceful in my pursuit of help to resolve them on your behalf and our community’s behalf, at the state level,” Green wrote. “You need to know that I do have a great deal of respect for the work being done at NELHA and you obviously deserve a large amount of the credit.”

Coffman said while the public meeting raised more questions than it answered, he was concerned about public access and the overall impact of development along Big Island shorelines.

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