Kauai Residents Decided to Fix Access Road to Polihale State Park Themselves After Severe Flooding – It Took Only 8 Days

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Residents Fix Polihale State Park Road Kauai

Repair on the Polihale State Park access road was put on the back burner by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources after costs were estimated at $4 million. In addition to the money the agency didn’t have, the time frame was around two years. Many would wait for the government’s help, but not the residents of Kauai. Instead, local business owners and residents worked together and completed the repair job – for free.

Polihale State Park was closed since the severe flooding destroyed it’s access road to the park and further damaged some of the facilities in December. The government’s assistance would not have been able to fix the road in time for tourist season this summer, or next. “They said it would probably take two years. And with the way they are cutting funds, we felt like they’d never get the money to fix it.” (Bruce Pleas, a local surfer who helped organize the volunteers.)

Business owners feared the possibility of having to close their doors, for many tourist season was the only source of income. “If the park is not open, it would be extreme for us, to say the least,” Ivan Slack, co-owner of Napali Kayak, said. “Bankruptcy would be imminent. How many years can you be expected to continue operating, owning 15-passenger vans, $2 million in insurance and a staff? For us, it was crucial, and our survival was dependent on it. That park is the key to the sheer survival of the business.” (CNN.com) So on March 23 around thirty volunteers pulled together manpower and machinery to fix the road themselves. “So we got together – the community – and we got it done,” said Troy Martin of Martin Steel, who donated machinery and steel for the repairs. The repairs were completed in only eight days. Tourist season gets busy around May 1 and locals hope the park will open in time.

Not wanting to leave anyone out, here is a list of other volunteers:
Andrew Johnston, David Heri, Don Wilson, David Shimatsu, Jon Lucus, David Stilwell, Kunane Aipoalani, David Tsuchiya, Mary and Bill Mculloy, Greg Holtzman (Na Pali Kayak), James Devlin (Na Pali Outfitters), Jared Dorado, John Aguon, Kawika Stilwell, Sharon Pleas, Makana Lindsey (Sierra Club), Mark Smith, Steve Pleas, Mike Joeseph (Surfrider), Myron Lindsey, Tim Mcenna, Nick Preto, Tom Clemens, Pila Morganti, Joshua Comstock, Randy Wolfshagen, Reuben Balmores, Rick Bush, Rick Havlin, Robert Ballard, Rodney Babtise, Rodney Shimatsu, Ryan Ell, Ryan Rivera, Stanley Orateler, Thomas Powell, Troy Martin, Val Budua

Sources:
CNN
Napali Kayak

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