Shutting down: National park closure creates sprawling consequences in, around Honaunau Bay

  • Visitors flock to Honaunau Bay on Saturday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • A statue representing Ku, a Hawaiian god of war, was recently robbed of a red blindfold traditionally draped over his eyes during Makahiki season, a time of rest and peace for early Hawaiians. Observers have reported other thefts and inappropriate behaviors at the national park that include picnicking on the Royal Grounds and unauthorized usage of the Hale O Keawe temple, a place of active worship. (Max Dible/West Hawaii Today)
  • Trash accumulation in bins and litter on the beaches are growing problems as Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park remains unstaffed due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. (Max Dible/West Hawaii Today)
  • Locals have complained that the deluge of traffic around Two Step Beach on Honaunau Bay has at times impeded paddlers trying to launch or store canoes at the Hale-O-Keoua Canoe Club. (Max Dible/West Hawaii Today)
  • Fishermen say the channel they use to access the boat ramp is over-populated with swimmers and snorkelers, creating long waits and serious risk of injury or death to oblivious ocean goers. (Max Dible/West Hawaii Today)
  • A swell of swimmers populate the rocks at Two Step Beach on Honaunau Bay Thursday afternoon. Some who live near and/or use the bay have noted concerns over too many people and vehicles clogging roads and waterways in the wake of the closure of Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park following the partial shutdown of the federal government. (Max Dible/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Less than two weeks was all it took to transform a tranquil space of refuge in West Hawaii to one characterized by disorder and disrespect.