Road Block Planned Sept. 19 To Protest Updated Rules for Waipiʻo Valley Road
Waipiʻo Valley kūpuna, farmers, ʻohana and their supporters plan to block the 1.5-mile road that leads to the black sand beach and agricultural community on Monday in protest of Hawaiʻi County’s updated rules that allow some four-wheel drive vehicles to use the road that is dangerous and in need of repair.
“We need to aloha and protect Waipiʻo Valley,” said Waipiʻo resident and lineal descendant, kūpuna Jeremiah Kaholoaʻa, in a press release. “And for us aloha is respect, respect for Waipiʻo as a wahi pana, respect for our lifestyles, respect for our safety and respect for Waipiʻoʻs unique history and resources.”
The protestors say the County has done “absolutely nothing” to mitigate the dangerous condition of the road.
The protestors also say for years they have called for the road to be open only to farmers, residents and individuals who give back to Waipiʻo, as cultural practitioners, working the loʻi, or taking care of Waipiʻoʻs unique natural and cultural resources.
They are upset the new rules all tour operators to use the road but restrict access on horseback, ATVs and riding in the back of trucks, which is how many Waipiʻo farmers and residents access Waipiʻo to mālama ʻāina.
Some people who are upset with the new rules already have voiced their concerns to Hawai’i County Mayor Mitch Roth during an online public meeting last week.
Waipiʻo Valley kūpuna, taro farmers, residents and lineal descendants are asking for the publicʻs support to join them in solidarity to protect Waipiʻo Valley at the Waipi’o Lookout on Monday at 8 a.m. The County’s new road rules go into effect at 9 a.m.