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Trespassers Disrespecting Kumukahi, County Says

July 6, 2021, 8:08 AM HST
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The rugged shoreline near Cape Kumakahi at the easternmost point of the Big Island. Photo by Eli Duke, Wikimedia Commons, 2010.

The Kumukahi Lighthouse Road in Kapoho remains closed.

Approximately 900 feet of the road was covered by lava during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. Since then, Hawai´i County has reported that littering, trespassing on private property, graffiti and similar behaviors have proven issues, as people access the shoreline at Kumukahi by walking or driving over the lava flow and around concrete barriers installed by the County and property owners.

“Kumukahi is a wahi pana, the place where the sun first greets Hawai‘i each morning, and is home to important natural and cultural resources, including burials,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “Until the road can be reopened and protective measures for iwi kūpuna are put in place, we ask that residents and visitors alike treat this area with the proper respect.”

The county said in a release that it plans to restore the road with financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following approval of the final design and the completion of environmental and historic preservation review, which includes federal Section 106 consultation by FEMA.

Additionally, measures to protect iwi kūpuna need to be put in place prior to the road reopening. That requires coordination with lineal descendants of the area and property owners, who also will be consulted on future management plans for the area, the county release said.

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