East Hawaii News

Four Cited After Trying to Plant Illegal Garden at State Park in Hilo

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Several Big Island people were cited after a third attempt to plant an illegal garden in a state park in Hilo.

According to a news release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the latest attempt on Sunday, April 10, to plant an illegal garden at Wailoa River State Recreation Area was foiled by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. Four people were cited on a variety of charges, including unlawful introduction of plant life on public property and altering geological features by digging into manicured grass.

A dozen people showed up in response to social media posts from 65-year-old Gene Tamashiro of Hilo, claiming the Wailoa River park does not belong to the state, the release said. This is the third time Tamashiro has been ticketed for illegally planting vegetation in the park. In 2013 and again in January 2021, he and others were cited for the same activities.


The other three people cited Sunday were Joanna Pike, 58, of Laupāhoehoe and Aero-Travis Olson-Coomer, 42, and Mia Pavao, 23, both of Pāhoa.

According to the news release, DOCARE officers observed all four either digging up grass or planting trees/shrubs. They were cited accordingly and will need to make a future appearance in Hilo District Court.


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