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Kohanaiki Shoreline Park blessing

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

A blessing and dedication ceremony Tuesday afternoon celebrated the opening of Kohanaiki Shoreline Park, which was the center of a decades-long campaign to preserve the popular beach spot.

Situated along 1.5 miles of coastline, Kohanaiki long has been one of North Kona’s most popular surfing, diving and camping areas. However, the shoreline also drew the attention of a series of developers and a myriad plans in an effort to balance development and preservation.

The dedication ceremony represented years of collaboration between lineal descendants of the area, community groups, various county departments, and developer Kohanaiki Shores.

“This grassroots effort by the community is an excellent example of collaboration between the public, a landowner, and county government. It will ensure that Kohanaiki remains the special place that we have cherished for generations,” Mayor Billy Kenoi said. “Mahalo to everyone in the Kona community who worked so hard to make the opening of this shoreline park possible.”

Kenoi sat in on numerous meetings between the stakeholders during his time as an assistant to previous Mayor Harry Kim.

“I’m just proud to witness the power of community and the results of a lot of hard work,” he said. “It’s very humbling to be here today.”

Mayor Billy Kenoi (left) joins in the blessing ceremony. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Mayor Billy Kenoi (left) joins in the blessing ceremony. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

The park includes bathrooms and outdoor showers, designated camping areas, a halau for cultural practices, improved and additional parking, and improved roadways to and along the shoreline and within the park. Portable toilets, which have been in use while new facilities were being developed, will also remain in place.

A partnership including the county, landowners and community shares responsibility for monitoring of the park, security, maintenance and trash removal.

Part of the jeep trail to the south end of the property – which abuts Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park – has been closed to vehicle traffic, but remains open to pedestrians. The two parks include culturally sensitive areas that federal and county authorities want to protect.

“The Kohanaiki Shoreline Park is the result of years of collaboration and negotiation; it represents a willingness on the part of all stakeholders to share in the stewardship of this very special place,” said County Council member Karen Eoff, who represents District 8.

Eoff, who has been involved with the project for decades, said she especially delighted to attend the blessing as the district’s council representative.

“I’m really humbled to be here as a councilperson, but it would have been a great day any day,” she said. “If just shows the power of a shared vision. This is the beginning of a new partnership.”

Councilwoman Karen Eoff (green shirt) looks on during the hale dedication. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karen Eoff (green shirt) looks on during the hale dedication. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

A Good Faith Agreement, forged in 2003, establishes Kohanaiki as the first county park where management and maintenance will be a shared responsibility between landowners, county and community.

“It’s been a journey of diplomacy, compromise, and collaboration,” said Rebecca Villegas, president of Kohanaiki Ohana, an active member of the community partnership that worked toward establishment of the shoreline park.

“We’ve created a model for future coastline developments, bridging the gap between government, developers, and community interests,” Villegas said.

Former Kona Councilman Angel Pilago successfully took former property owner, Nansay Inc., to court over Native Hawaiian gathering rights on the property and never waivered on his vision for preserving the shoreline.

“I do feel like I played an important part in helping the community become better, but with that work also comes lessons. The lesson I learned was that you can always do more,” he said. “This dream today is fulfilled, but there is more to do. This is just a stepping-stone.”

Also instrumental in helping guide the project was Chris Yuen, who served as planning director during Kim’s administration.

“I remember talking to Harry about this way back in 2001. It’s been a long time coming. You can look anywhere else in Hawaii and you not going to see a mile-long public shoreline park,” he said. “The developer heard the people and worked with them. The developer and the people really rose to the challenge.”

A preservation and cultural plan – developed with the assistance of the lineal descendants of Kohanaiki – is in place to guide the conservation of historic and cultural sites at the park, as well as ongoing cultural practices at the halau, which will one day house a traditional, double hull voyaging canoe.

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Kohanaiki Shoreline Park Details

Road and Parking

The roadway and the parking areas are constructed according to a “Good Faith Agreement” negotiated in 2003 and under the direction of DLNR, the Army Corps of Engineers and the SMA permit.

The jeep trail was specifically required by DLNR to be converted to pedestrian access once the park road was complete to protect the beach and oceanfront from the negative impact of vehicular use.

Public access continues along the entire shoreline, with vehicular access to the turn-around south of the main bay, and from there, pedestrian (and bicycle) access to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park border along the Ala Kahakai trail.

Park Amenities and Camping

New bathroom and shower facilities are completed, and the 17 portable luas will remain in place. There are 122 parking stalls, located in nodes along the access road, with some overflow parking areas to be determined.

Camping is permitted five days a week for up to 80 people per night. Camping permits are issued at the beach on a first come, first served basis.

Park hours for day use are 5:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily.

Anchialine Ponds

The pond management plan, approved by various governmental agencies, is being implemented under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers with ongoing restoration and maintenance. Non-native species have been removed and the ponds have been restored to a vibrant habitat.

Water Quality Monitoring Program

A comprehensive water quality-monitoring program, with input from the National Park, is in place to monitor the water quality for any potential impacts ofactivities at Kohanaiki. A drainage system has been installed to direct all drainage away from the ocean and ponds.

Golf Course Management Program

The golf course and landscaping is managed and certified under the Audubon Silver certification program – the only golf course to receive such certification in Hawaii. Brackish water is used for irrigation of the golf course and landscaping. Primarily native, salt-tolerant species are being used for all landscaping.


Lineal descendants have been consulted and involved in identifying cultural sites. Informational signage on selected archeological sites such as the Ala Kahakai trail, will be placed to help educate the public. A traditional hale is being constructed with full participation by community members where workshops and cultural activities will be conducted in the future.

For more information, call 329-6200.


One Response to “Kohanaiki Shoreline Park blessing”

  1. Stacy walker says:

    I tried to get to the shoreline just south of keau hou bay (I understand now that it’s the area called shoreline park). I went to the gated community at the entrance. A man wrote was apparently writing down our license plate number and a description of the car. I was first told that it was private property. When I asked about the sign pointing toward shoreline access, I was told that there was just a place to park and then a walk. He said that the area had been closed down for high seas or something to that effect. I asked how he came by that information and he said he gets updates from a government agency. I thought this was a lie but I had my family with me and wasn’t going to pass the issue. Is this jpark open to the public or not? This was on 12/31/14 at about 4:30 pm. The subdivision was unmarked and on the Oceanside. If you turn and go up country instead, you hit highway 11. There looks to be a large golf course attached to the subdivision.


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