Out-of-state visitors to Iao Valley State Monument on Maui will now be required to make reservations. The park had been closed for nine months for repairs due to a flood that happened in 2016.
Iao Valley is the fourth visitor attraction in the state parks system with such a requirement for nonresidents. The other places with reservations systems already in place are Haena State Park on Kauai, Diamond Head State Monument on Oahu and Waianapanapa State Park on Maui. The National Park Service also has a reservations requirement for sunrise viewing at Haleakala Volcano on Maui.
“We’ve found visitor satisfaction is much higher when compared to pre-reservation days,” said Curt Cottrell, administrator of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of State Parks. “It’s a way to effectively manage the number of people in parks across the day. It helps protect our natural and cultural resources from being loved to death, and by spreading visitation out across the day people generally have a better experience.”
While all these reservations are meant to curb overcrowding in popular areas, visitors are still showing up at sites without reservations only to be turned away. “It’s been four years since we began booking reservations at Haena State Park. The complaints from those who fail to secure them have steadily decreased, and we expect with the addition of Iao reservations people will become more aware of the requirement,” said Alan Carpenter, assistant administrator at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of State Parks.
Iao Valley reservations can be made at gostateparks.hawaii.gov. There is a $10 vehicle parking fee and a $5 per person entrance fee for visitors age 3 and over.
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