DLNR Issues Citations to Lost Hikers
Two hikers who got lost over the weekend and spent the night in the state’s Kahauale’a Natural Area Reserve have been issued citations by Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers.
According to the DLNR, the men, a 23-year-old from Maryland and a 24-year-old Pahoa man, got lost as they were returning from a hike to Pu’u ‘O’o in an area that has been closed since June 2007.
“Entering into closed areas is a serious offense that unnecessarily risks lives and places rescuers in jeopardy,” Carty S. Change, Interim DLNR Chairperson said Tuesday. “DLNR will enforce these closures and take enforcement action on violators.”
Hazardous and dangerous conditions caused by volcanic activity forced the DLNR to close Kahauale’a NAR over seven years ago. The closure was extended through July 2015 and officials say that as long as unsafe conditions persist, the area will continue to remain closed.
The violations issued to the men are categorized as misdemeanor offenses that are punishable by a fine and, or the possibility of, up to one year in prison. They will appear in Hilo District Court.
Following the issuance of their citations, the two hikers were released.