News and Events

Honokohau Parking Fees are BACK!

The issue:

The Department of Land & Natural Resources, Division of Boating & Ocean Recreation (DLNR/DOBOR) plans to implement controlled parking and parking fees for the general public, business lessees, slip holders, boating club members, visitors and charter customers, at Honokohau Small Boat Harbor. 

 The boating community and the 250 small businesses based at Honokohau believe that parking fees will become a disincentive to community and visitor use of the harbor facilities, and will creating a financial barrier between the struggling businesses at Honokohau and our customers. We believe business and harbor use will be seriously impacted if the general public is not allowed free access to Honokohau Harbor.

 While it is understood that State government needs additional cost savings or revenue streams to offset budget deficits, we believe the implementation of paid parking at Honokohau Harbor will be more detrimental than productive.

 In part, this view is based on the lack of a cost benefit analysis by DLNR/DOBOR measuring the impacts and/or benefits of a parking fee.  We believe that before implementing this action, a cost benefit analysis is essential to justifying the proposed action.

 Honokohau Harbor is a West Hawaii community ocean activity hub. Canoe paddlers, kayakers, stand-up paddlers, shoreline fishermen, surfers, sailors and even memorial services and weddings and a church use the harbor facilities, amongst the many other uses. All current users will suffer an inconvenience and be forced to pay for the privilege of parking.

 Due to the nature of Honokohau Harbor, controlled pay parking will never be acceptable to the public. We believe that pay parking in Honokohau will put off the public and drive them away.

 Possible remedies:

 1)    Convince the Chair of the BLNR to delay the implementation of the parking fees until other revenue generating opportunities have been exhausted (see #s 3 & 4 below);

 2)    Urge the BLNR to turn over the boating facilities on the Big Island to Hawaii County for management by a public/private partnership.  Note: The Hawaii County Council has already authorized the Mayor to pursue this option;

 3)    Pursue additional revenues for the Boating program through immediately leasing all or part of the 50+ acres of the Division’s vacant land adjacent to Honokohau Harbor, rather than instituting parking fees;

 4)    Obtain additional revenues for the Boating program by pursuing and spending federal stimulus funds and grants for the completion, refurbishment, upgrading and improvement of Honokohau Harbor;

 How you can help:

1)    Write a strongly worded letter to BLNR Chair Suzanne Case (send a copy to the Governor, Hawaii island legislative delegation, Hawaii island BLNR member and Mayor Billy Kenoi), asking the Chair to delay the implementation of parking fees at Honokohau, because of the negative impact of parking fees on businesses, tourism and the community (see lists of Talking Points and addresses below);

 2)    Ask your elected officials questions about the parking fees and small boat harbor management, by letter, by email or during election forums, then keep in touch with them to be sure they are pursuing this issue;

 3)    Write letters to the editor, and let your clients and your friends know about the parking issue, in person, in community meetings, on various web forums and blogs, any way you can get the word out;

 4)    Participate in all of the public meetings and hearings regarding boating facilities management, including meetings of the Hawaii Fishing & Boating Association.

 Talking Points

 1) Parking fees and a parking management concessionaire at Honokohau will effectively create a barrier to visitors to the harbor and harbor businesses, as well as to casual recreational users of the boating facilities and the adjacent shorelines.

 2) Historically, Honokohau Harbor consistently produced a positive cash flow.  Administrative changes in the allocation of revenues and/or expenses has led to what is now described as a deficit, when, in fact, that is merely a reflection of an accounting change.  If an accounting change is actually the cause of what is now described as a deficit, the current allocation results in a distortion of the harbor’s true financial productivity.

 4) There has been no cost/benefit analysis of the proposed controlled parking fees program for Honokohau.  The information such an analysis would produce is an essential prerequisite in determining whether implementation of a paid parking program will actually produce a meaningful net revenue increase.  A cost/benefit analysis would also help decision makers determine the economic impact of the proposed parking fees, and their economic benefit (if there is any) to the people of Hawaii. It may be that there are more effective methods of generating additional revenues.  Fixating on parking may be obscuring our vision away from more utilitarian and productive revenue producing options.

 5) These proposed fees are an unfair additional burden on users of a harbor facility that has never been completed, that is run-down, and is poorly maintained.

 6) Honokohau Harbor users were not informed of public meetings or hearings on proposed parking fees, and were told that proposed parking fees were only relevant to Ala Wai, not to Honokohau.

 7) The proposed parking fees apparently have not taken into consideration the diverse aspects of harbor use which range from baby luaus to funerals; youth-at-risk paddling programs to world record sport fishing; two restaurants, two delis, two fueling facilities widely used by the general public; boat storage, fishing tournaments, boat clubs and many other community uses; all of which will be negatively impacted by parking fees.  The harbor is also an ocean recreation community activity hub with canoe, fishing and sailing clubs; stand-up paddlers, kayakers, surfers and shoreline fishermen utilizing the facilities. Every single one of those users will be required to suffer the inconvenience, and pay for the privilege to park. All of those activities will either be forced to other venues, or may be discontinued.

 8) Some of those who work at the harbor are amongst the lowest paid workers in Hawaii.  Forcing these people to pay additional fees to park where they work will likely decrease the pool of those willing to work at Honokohau, for any wage.

 9) The Ala Wai parking program is an inappropriate comparison.  Ala Wai is in a heavily trafficked urban area, with high-demand for its parking spaces, and Ala Wai actually had paved parking with designated parking areas long before the imposition of parking fees.  None of that is the case at Honokohau. There is no need to restrict parking at Honokohau because the resource is not under pressure from the public or hotel guests the way it is at Ala Wai. Charging for parking in Honokohau when the lots are mostly empty, unmarked and undeveloped is a public relations disaster!

 10) Honokohau is unique amongst Hawaii’s Small Boat Harbors in that it has roughly 50% of its berths designated for commercial operations, making it the center of ocean recreation tourism in West Hawaii.  It makes no sense to cripple the many small businesses in Hawaii’s most commercialized small boat harbor (Honokohau), by adding unnecessary fees.

 Who to contact:

Suzanne Case, Chair DLNR: 

1151 Punchbowl St., Honolulu, HI 96813     Ph: (808) 587-0400

Ed Underwood, Director DLNR/DOBOR:

Senator Josh Green:

Representative Cindy Evans:

Governor David Ige:

Hawaii State Capitol, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813 Phone: 808 586-0034

Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui:

Mayor Billy Kenoi:                                           25 Aupuni Street, Hilo, HI 96720  (808) 961-8211


The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is conducting a round of public hearings about the new Draft Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (summary attached and link to website).

Summary Draft Plan

Management Plan Review Documents​


Public comments can be submitted online at:!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2015-0028<;D=NOAA-NOS-2015-0028>


Or by mail:


NOS/ONMS/Malia Chow

1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg 176

Honolulu, HI 96818

Thank you for your interest in this pressing community issue.

 Hawaii Fishing & Boating Association