Some fees at state parks to increase

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today file photo Beachgoers enjoy Hapuna Beach on Oct. 26, 2018.

Entrance and cabin fees at state parks will likely increase this year as the Department of Land and Natural Resources struggles to address a budget shortfall.

Today’s meeting of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources will include discussion, among other things, about a rate hike for state park fees throughout Hawaii that might go into effect before the end of the year, said Curt Cottrell, administrator of the DLNR’s State Parks division.

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Cottrell said the rate hike has been in the works for about a year already, but will now help the DLNR offset estimated losses of $500,000 per month in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The irony of the whole situation is that the rate hikes primarily are for nonresidents, and now no nonresidents are coming,” Cottrell said.

While the state Legislature allocated about $4 million to the DLNR to protect state workers from being furloughed, Cottrell said the lack of any incoming tourists has put a massive hole in the department’s budget. While increasing fees for nonresidents will have little to no impact in the short term, Cottrell said there are some kama‘aina fee increases that could help the department.

In most cases, the fee increases at state parks and monuments will be applied to commercial tourist vehicles. The current fees are, in most cases, $10 for one- to seven-passenger vehicles, $20 for eight- to 25-passenger vehicles and $40 for vehicles carrying 26 or more passengers. The increase will hike those fees to $25, $50 and $90, respectively.

Currently, Hawaii residents are not charged to access state parks, and the proposed fee increase will not change that. However, the fee increase will raise the nightly cost of staying at a campsite from $12 per night to $20 per night.

Cabin rental fees for residents also will increase. At Hapuna Beach State Park, where residents can currently rent a cabin for $30 a night, prices will increase to $40 a night, while other state parks, such as Kalopa State Recreational Area, will increase their nightly cabin rental fees from $60 to $70 for residents.

Cottrell said he does not anticipate opposition from the board today, explaining the increases are a good way to prepare for an eventual reopening of the economy.

“But that $500,000 loss every month is a real wake-up call about how dependent we really are on tourism,” Cottrell said.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

Park Current Cost for Residents Current Cost for Non-Residents Proposed New Cost for Residents Proposed New Cost for Non-Residents
State Park Camping Fees $12 per night $18 per night $20 per night $30 per night
Napali Coast State Wilderness Park $15 per night $20 per night $25 per night $35 per night
Hapuna Beach cabins $30 per night $50 per night $40 per night $70 per night
Kalopa, Polipoli Springs and Wai‘anapanapa state park cabins $60 per night $90 per night $70 per night $100 per night
Wailoa State Recreation Area pavilions

$5 an hour for small pavilions

$125 for large pavilions

$5 an hour for small pavilions

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$125 for large pavilions

$10 an hour for small pavilions

$250 for large pavilions

$10 an hour for small pavilions

$250 for large pavilions

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