Hawaii tourism officials put up cement barriers to stop visitors access to beaches, turtles and seals

One of the most remembered tourist attractions and often referred to as an "open secret" on the Island of Oahu is now off limit, thanks to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Hawaii tourism officials put up cement barriers to stop visitors access to beaches, turtles and seals

One of the most remembered tourist attractions and often referred to as an “open secret” on the Island of Oahu is now off limit, thanks to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Today, heavy duty trucks brought cement barriers and made it impossible to utilize the parking area across from Laniakea Beach.

December 23 has always been one of the busiest days before Christmas. Rental cars are usually sold out, hotels are full and tourists enjoy their circle island trip. This trip today easily took 3 hours to just go 10 miles on Kam Hwy, the beach road on Oahu’s North Shore. The Honolulu Police Department closed off one side of this road so construction crews could put up the cement blocks to barricade the visitors’ parking lot. It caused a traffic jam never seen on this side of the island.

eTN contacted Hawaii’s Department of Transportation. The spokesperson for the DOT said they had received a lot of inquiries about the incident, and said it would “get back” to us, but a return call was never made.

The North Shore Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, said the jurisdiction conflicts between the “state and communities caused this to happen.”

Many visitors that came to Oahu to see the turtles are now in for a surprise. Tour operators most likely scramble to substitute this experience with another stop on their circle island tours.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority paid by taxpayers money to promote tourism to Hawaii is supporting this initiative to make it impossible for visitors to experience the magic of Laniakea Beach on Oahu’s famous North Shore and home of eTN.

The beach offered great white sand and an opportunity to relax. The best thing about Laniakea Beach are the green sea turtles.

These green sea turtles (honu) at Laniakea come close into shore to feed on the seaweed growing on the rocks. The green sea turtle is a reptile that can live up to 80 years of age. Like other reptiles, the green sea turtle is cold-blooded. So they will sometimes haul themselves up on the beach to bask in the warm Hawaiian sun. They will allow people to swim and snorkel in the water with them.

Laniakea Beach or “Turtle Beach” is not hard to find. From the historic town of Haleiwa travel about 1.5 miles just before Pohaku Loa Way on Kam Highway. When you see lots of cars parked in the dirt on the right-hand side ‘pull in !!!’. Across the street is Laniakea Beach.

Access to this parking lot is now gone – right in on the first day of the Christmas rush.

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The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) released this statement: “One of the objectives of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is to balance the needs of residents and visitors. Monitoring the pulse of our communities statewide is a top priority. This includes recent concerns regarding Laniakea on the North Shore of Oahu, also known as “Turtle Beach.”

Located between Haleiwa and Chun’s Reef, many Laniakea beachgoers often park on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway and have to cross the street to access the beach. The lack of designated parking and pedestrian crosswalks, and the growing popularity of this beach have contributed to increasing traffic and safety concerns within the community.

In response to these issues, the HTA conducted a study to gauge the average daily pedestrian and vehicle traffic at Laniakea. On an average day, there were more than 1,000 pedestrians crossing the street each way, approximately 350 cars accessing the parking area across the street, and more than 110 visitors getting dropped off by tour buses.

The State Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that it will be placing barriers which will eliminate parking on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway at Laniakea by the end of this year until further notice.

Our main concern is to ensure the safety of our visitors while they are in Hawaii. We encourage you to share this update regarding access to Laniakea with those interested in visiting the North Shore, and to recommend beaches with designated parking lots and comfort stations located on the Makai side of Kamehameha Highway to prevent potential safety hazards.

eTN publisher Juergen T Steinmetz said: “I lived on the North Shore for almost 25 years and never had a serious issue with traffic because of this beach. Of course cars stop or drive slow and let visitors cross the road on Laniakea beach. This is not New York or California. Traffic in Hawaii is different. Drivers observe the Aloha spirit, and not one tourist ever got hurt in the last 25 years when crossing the highway.”

“A traffic light would have been in order to regulate who has the right of way. Barricades are out of line and are destroying a major attraction for tourists and locals alike. I stopped here many times every week and always enjoy the beautiful scenery and nature hard to find anywhere in the world.”

“After all the majority of our population lives on tourism. Restaurants on the North Shore cater to tourists, and so do the many small souvenir shops and lunch wagons. Swimming with the turtles seeing Laniakea beach is a life altering experience for many of our visitors. Eliminating this attraction for the benefit of 50 or less residents living on this white sandy beach stretch is simply uncalled for, selfish and short sighted.
It has nothing to do with security or traffic”

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