Hawaii & Alaska
The Beat of Hawaii

HI - Restoration of Award-Winning Kaanapali Beach Canceled

The only U.S. beach that ranked #1 recently on the world’s best list will apparently not be restored.

At least so went Friday’s decision by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Board. The plan had been to bring enough sand from off-shore onto Kaanapali Beach to hopefully provide at least 15 more years before significant erosion would again become apparent.

The decision comes after four decades of continuous erosion plus a recent high tide event on Maui that also caused a collapse in the famed walkway. The area of concern is near the Kaanapali Alii Resort, the Hyatt Regency Maui, Sheraton Maui Resort, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, restaurants, shopping, and the legendary Black Rock.

As recently as late last year, it appeared that DLNR was on board the long-planned Kaanapali Beach restoration project which might have provided the extra time needed for these businesses to continue before more extensive changes are necessitated in the future.

We’ve known for decades that these buildings should not be there.

Kaanapali now finds itself in a situation where many high-end properties have been built on beaches that are fast eroding, with no planned or likely possible solution. There isn’t an easy solution that forestalls the inevitable.

It was clear to many from the outset to think that the remediation could be both successful and not harmful was a fantasy. Studies have indicated that such “nourishment” projects don’t provide long term benefit and have a detrimental impact on wildlife.

The only U.S. beach recently ranked among the best beaches in the world.

Kaanapali Beach was just honored as being among the best beaches in the world. It was the only beach in the United States to be included. In addition, Kaanapali was honored as 1st on the list of top 25 beaches in the United States. That list also included beaches in Hawaii. These were a part of TripAdvisor’s 2023 Travelers’ Choice Awards.

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