Tourist Tuesday — Big Sur can take a lesson from Kauai

“The idea is to create a better experience for the residents and the visitors and then lessen the impact on the place,” said Joel Guy, executive director of The Hanalei Initiative, a nonprofit launching the North Shore Shuttle. “I think it’s a pretty unique model that can hopefully be used in other places.”

June 20, 2019, 2:31 AM PDT By Michelle Broder Van Dyke

HĀʻENA, Hawaii — To reach the northeastern corner of the island of Kauai requires driving or biking on a winding two-lane highway flanked by the mountains and the sea, where rocky outposts are interlaced with strips of sandy beach protected by fringe reefs.

A two-mile stretch of Kūhiō Highway reopened this week after being closed since April 2018 because of landslides triggered by record-breaking rainfall. Now, parts of the mountainside are held back with wire mesh that climbs 40 feet in a highway repair project estimated to cost at least $85 million. Three narrow bridges built in 1912 were wiped out and only one has been completely repaired; the other two are partially complete, with makeshift wooden guardrails and cones blocking cars from crashing into the Pacific Ocean.

Without tourists to disturb the wildlife, native plants and animals rebounded, and even the local community grew stronger. The highway leads to Hāʻena State Park, which once drew more than 2,000 visitors a day. Although tourism is the main economic driver in Hawaii, officials are reconsidering its position as host to nearly 10 million tourists a year across the six islands accessible to visitors. To maintain its unique natural and cultural resources, Hawaii is attempting to shift from encouraging to limiting tourists. With the reopening of Kūhiō Highway, new regulations will aim to cut the park’s number of visitors in half, a goal some locals say is not enough.

See the rest of this article here:

“A popular sentiment among born-and-raised locals is that the flood was a divine declaration from Mother Nature that she had had enough.” 

From another article on what it is like since it reopened with some controls over tourist numbers in place:

Kauai’s Newly Reopened Park Is A Case Study In Controlling Tourism

“There are people who have been born and raised there and all they know is crowds of people,” said Curt Cottrell, the administrator of the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks. “And then … they looked up and saw their community as it once was 70 years ago. Even the fish started looking up and recognizing that there was room now for them to come back and swim.”

For the rest of this wonderful article see:

As Lisa Kleissner says, ”What will our story be?”

4 thoughts on “Tourist Tuesday — Big Sur can take a lesson from Kauai

  1. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in Hawaii.

    One big difference between Big Sur and this location is that Big Sur is a through road, and the Hawaii example is an out and back road, but certainly some of the things they’re doing would almost certainly help here too – the one that stands out to me is enforcement of existing rules.

    During the recent holiday weekend here, MoCo Sheriffs had facebook posts etc. about it being illegal to camp by the side of the road and over that weekend, I barely saw anyone doing it (I assume they were backing up their PR efforts with enforcement), but this last weekend there were around 10-15 vehicles between the highlands and Point Sur that had obviously been parked there all night – so I assume enforcement was gone.

    Similarly, coming back over Bixby in the afternoon, the line going south was held up by a car sitting in the highway waiting for a spot to open up, with cars piling up behind it – about 20th in that line was a CHP cruiser, but there was no-one at the bridge to stop the blockage in the first place.

    I know enforcement costs money etc., but if the current rules and regs were enforced, the experience would be better for all, tourists and locals alike.

  2. Tim H is right. Accountability is the only answer left before inclusive measures. The ‘I didn’t know I was causing a problem’ to the ‘ they’ll just have to deal with my greatness to do what I want’ attitudes just doesn’t cut it while disavowing others right to live peacefully and stress free. As a tourist, and one who didn’t get to see your beautiful area last year because of the landslide, we hope to see it next month and hopefully, you’ll never know we were there. Our gratitude to you who put up with morons who make your life more taxing! (Kate, loves the article about you in the LA Times this morning. Thank you for caring so much about your community, friends, and sharing your thoughts).

  3. Mr. 1954 – Enjoy your visit – glad to not see you 😉
    AND – What article in LA Times? Got a link by any chance?

  4. ZZ Denise, I’ve been cleaning up my mail before we come out that way next week, I must have already trashed it. It was LA Times ‘Essential California’ Section in this last Tuesday morning edition. Sorry.

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