David Y. Igé | DLNR press release: Public and private landowners want illegal mountain biking stopped in Koke’e
DLNR press release: Public and private landowners want illegal mountain biking stopped in Koke’e
Posted on November 4, 2021 in Latest News, Press Room
(Līhuʻe, Kaua’i) – Almost every weekend the distinctive sound of four-stroke off-road motorcycle engines fills the air with red dust, between Koke’e State Park and Kekaha on both sides from highway 552.
Places like “Koke’e bol” often see dozens of people on off-road motorcycles, mountain bikes and all-terrain vehicles running on trails their tires have dug. Warning and no-trespassing signs are evident throughout the area.
Sheri S. Mann, Kaua’i branch manager for DLNR’s Forestry and Wildlife Division (DOFAW), empathizes with local horse enthusiasts who complain about having few places legal to ride on Garden Island.
“However, these activities on lands under the jurisdiction of the DLNR, the Agribusiness Development Corporation (AGC) and the Dept. of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) are illegal, and the signage clearly indicates this,” Mann said.
And dangerous. Keiki on off-road motorcycles or quads have been seen crossing the highway, which has many blind curves. Riders pass through established safety zones in hunting zones, where Mann says mixing high-speed bikes with people carrying guns could be the recipe for tragedy.
A firewall, created by DOFAW, to prevent forest fires from blowing up the freeway has become a popular route. “This was created for the specific purpose of protecting life and property and not as a dirt bike trail,” Mann said.
Many no-trespassing signs have been vandalized or washed away. Some bikers also set up small camps on Saturdays and Sundays on state lands. In addition to the obvious dangers of motorcycles passing through active hunting areas, land managers are concerned that bikers could spread invasive species, and their exhaust pipes or open fires in large metal boxes could start a forest fire in the area. this vegetation generally very dry on this side. from the island.
Bikers caught riding on DOFAW or land managed by state parks could be cited by officers from the DLNR Division of Resource Conservation and Enforcement (DOCARE). DOCARE is responsible for the application of all rules and laws on land under the jurisdiction of the DLNR.
“In Kaua’i, the demand for access and recreational uses far exceeds the land available on our small island. We cannot accept destructive or hazardous uses because we have an obligation to protect natural and cultural resources on all lands under our management, ”said Mann.
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