Hawaii & Alaska
via Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources

HI - Lineal Descendants Plead for Polihale

POLIHALE STATE PARK – Emotion overcomes Raylene “Sissy” Kahale as she describes the significance of Polihale to Hawaiian families who have lived here for many generations.

“Polihale is like our home. You don’t go to the bathroom at the same place you sleep or eat off. This place is so sacred. I don’t think people realize the mana that it brings and gives. When you come here it feels like coming home,” Kahale says, as tears well up.

Lineal descendants of the area, now known as Polihale State Park, can trace their ancestry back hundreds of years to this wind-swept, stunningly beautiful region on Kaua‘i’s west side. Sandwiched between the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park and the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, Polihale has long been a place for native Hawaiians and others to visit to fish, surf, swim or just walk on the two and a half miles of beach within the park.

Sand dunes, some as high as 100-feet during certain times of the year, are one of the major attractions, but not necessarily just for their beauty. Polihale, has long been a place where it is common practice to drive on the beach. However, it has never been legal.

In addition to being Illegal, if you’re racing across dunes or up and down the sand, it becomes a safety issue for other people on the beach. Sensitive plants on the beach have been destroyed. After being forced to close the park for much of 2020, the DLNR Division of State Parks erected new signs to better define where it is okay to drive.

Due to its remote location, broad expanse, and lack of enforcement and maintenance personnel, getting everyone to play by the rules at Polihale has long been challenging.

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