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Jan 11, 2016

Queen's Trust camping program to resume this spring


KAILUA-KONA — The Queen Liliuokalani Trust hopes to reopen its longtime Keahuolū Camping Program this spring, after a nearly three-year closure to make improvements and give the scenic sites a break.

The trust posted a link on its website Thursday to allows people to begin registering into the program’s database. In the coming months, the trust aims to begin accepting reservations for camping, said Cynthia Jordan, trust communications manager. Officials hope to reopen campgrounds in April.

The 42-year-old program offers a family-oriented camping experience at two sites situated between Kailua-Kona and Honokohau Harbor along the Keahuolu shoreline, on land set aside by the trust to benefit Native Hawaiian children.

One of the grounds, named Halepao, is “a sandy beach surrounded by a grove of milo trees with a swimming area and tide pools,” according to information from the trust’s website. The other, called Hiiakanoholae, located to the north of Halepao, is also a sandy beach with “tide pools, blowholes and deep ocean waters,” the website says.

Hundreds of families have enjoyed the private campgrounds over the years, but in early 2013 they closed because “they were in much need of rest,” Jordan said.

During the break, officials conducted maintenance and studied areas including baseline levels of water quality and species monitoring in anchialine pools, Jordan said. They also worked to set up a management plan for site upkeep and worked with the state to get the shoreline certified, Jordan said.

“(The land) was just being used often for a very long time,” Jordan said. “There was just a lot of work that needed to get done, and we thought it’d be best to let the land rest in that time.”

Families can complete the online camping program registration to prove eligibility and get notified once reservations open up.

To be eligible, a family must have a child 17 or younger and have an electronic copy of their birth certificate to show proof of Hawaiian ethnicity. For more information call 238-3120 or email kona@onipaa.org.

“There have been people waiting for some time for us to re-open,” Jordan said. “I think it will be well-received once we are.”

Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald

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