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More than a year after an epic flood devastated Kauai’s north shore, public access to the two-mile stretch of Kuhio Highway is still not restored.
Kauai has tightened requirements for shoreline development, but they don’t take into account more alarming recent predictions of the impact of climate change and rising seas.
Kee Beach, once nearly loved to death by tourists, is now a place of solitude after last spring’s punishing storms cut it off from the rest of the island.
Local fishermen say the impact of the April storm on tourism has been a boon to the fish population.
With the North Shore’s marquee destinations still off-limits to tourists, the small town has become a packed daytime destination.
For those living beyond Hanalei, it’s tough to get to jobs or shop, but many feel liberated with the tourist mobs gone.
Fixing Kuhio Highway will be costly and complicated, but may provide impetus for a long-term plan limiting daily visitors in the area.
Kauai County had already cracked down on hundreds of remote visitor rentals. The flood might have doomed many more.
Kauai has historically allowed development along rivers and in coastal areas vulnerable to flooding.
The state’s detailed assessment of damage includes destroyed homes and roads, lost tourism dollars and PTSD among residents.
The storm’s toll in Hanalei and more remote areas includes destroyed homes, lost jobs and vanished tourist dollars.