Influx of tourists means lesser-known places are now magnets for visitors

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – With thousands of tourists flocking to the state, lesser-known places like Pua’ena Point Beach Park in Haleiwa, home to resting turtles, are seeing an increase in visitor numbers.

The growing number of visitors raises concerns about traffic jams and harassment of native wildlife, especially on the north coast of Oahu.

“It’s a bit out of the way and now the tour buses drop people off as well,” said North Shore Ward Board Chair Kathleen Pahinui. “And this is no longer a place to go for our resident families. “

In the afternoon, nearly ten tourist buses were in the parking lot leading to Pua’ena Point Beach Park on Sunday.

“It’s really crowded,” said Jolene Nagareta, who was from Oregon.

“It’s frustrating because it’s like, can we have a little something for ourselves?” Pahinui asks. “Can you just not try to come to all of Hawaii’s special secret beaches?” “

“It used to be a hidden gem, but like I said it’s not so hidden anymore,” said Michael Zickus of Hawaii Turtle Tours.

Laniakea Beach was one of the most popular places to spot sea turtles, but it is so crowded and crowded that some travel companies try to avoid it.

“We are not going to Laniakea, we are telling everyone not to go,” Zickus said. “It’s too crowded.”

“We believe there is a lot more to be done to manage and do better,” said Pahinui. “And to provide residents with the quality of life we ​​all work so hard for. “

But it’s not just that these hidden gems are becoming a tourist attraction.

The safety of sea turtles is also a concern.

“Visitors are once again not very turtle-friendly,” Pahinui said. “I’ve heard stories about them, you know, trying to climb on them with kids, touch them, and take pictures with them when they’re required by federal law to keep a distance.”

“Especially in Waikiki, you have all these brochures and stuff all over the place,” Zickus said. “Put up little flyers and give advice on wildlife, honu and monk seals and how to respect them.”

The Hawaii Tourism Authority released a public service announcement on Friday aimed at preventing harassment of marine wildlife.

The neighborhood council hopes the publication of the Laniakea Beach environmental assessment is a step in the right direction.

Hawaii News Now has contacted DLNR for comment and is awaiting a response.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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