Grove Farm Company plans to put up fencing and boulders to discourage trespassing at Kauai’s popular swimming hole.
“We don’t enjoy putting up this fence but there have been too many accidents and tragedies at the site,” Warren Haruki, company president and CEO, said in a statement. “Everyone who has visited Kipu Falls without permission has trespassed on private property.”
Haruki continued: “Many attempts to change guidebook language and to dissuade people unfamiliar with the area have not been heeded and we have decided to restrict access to the site.”
Kauai lawmakers introduced bills during the 2011 Hawaii Legislature that would have punished guidebooks along with websites, social media wireless communication, forums, twitter accounts or blogs for certain types of communication.
After an uproar over First Amendment rights, a bill was amended to establish a task force to study the matter. But the measure ultimately died.
In its press release about the fencing, released Wednesday, Grove Farm said it was a “difficult decision.”
But the company noted that similar concerns led to past closures of two other popular Kauai tourists sites.
The decision was applauded by Monty Downs of the Kauai Water Safety Task Force.
“I have seen too many tragedies come through the emergency room over the years to turn a blind eye to what has been going on,” said Downs, a medical doctor.
Downs, whose comments were part of Grove Farm’s press release, said he had seen teenagers “rendered quadriplegic” from activity at the falls.
“Kipu Falls is no place for visitors,” he said.
Grove Farm considered conveying the property to Kauai County in order to make the area a park. But the idea was deemed unfeasible because of liability issues.
Access to the falls is off a private road. The area will be fenced in, and boulders will be placed alongside the road so vehicles are not able to park on the shoulders.
As well, additional “Private Property” and “No Trespassing” signs will be posted, vehicles will be towed at owners’ expense and the Kauai Police Department will cite and fine trespassers.