The State of Hawa’i Board of Land and Natural Resources (Land Board) on Friday voted unanimously at its bi-weekly business meeting, to approve a recommendation by the Hawai’i Division of State Parks to terminate the revocable permit of Hawa’i Pack and Paddle LLC to conduct commercial tours via kayak to the historic Ka’awaloa Flats section of Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park .
The Division of State Parks recommended revocation based on violations of permit conditions on July 4, 2012, that include the company’s exceeding the number of allowed customers per tour, exceeding the maximum allowable time period at Ka’awaloa of 2 1/2 hours per tour, and not remaining within the authorized permit area between the landing site and the Captain Cook Monument. Hawai’i Pack and Paddle was working with the tour group Bold Earth Teen Adventures. Two of their participants were swept into the ocean by high waves. A Hawa’i Pack and Paddle employee saved Matthew Alzate, who was flown to Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition but has recovered. But young Tyler Madoff, 15, of White Plains, New York was swept away and his body has never been found.
Madoff’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit that names Hawai’I Pack and Paddle, Bold Earth Teen Adventures, and others.
The Division of State Parks will issue a letter to Hawa’i Pack and Paddle that will constitute a 30 day notice that their month-to-month permit is revoked, as allowed for in the revocable permit conditions. The company was originally issued the permit in 2008, and it was continued by the board for additional one year periods since then. In addition the Land Board will allow the company to return to the board’s October 12, 2012 meeting to request a reconsideration and further discussion of the board’s decision, per request of the company’s attorney.
Kealakekua Bay State Historic Park, Kealakekua Bay and the Captain Cook Monument are highly popular visitor destinations in Kona due to the safe waters of the marine life conservation district and historical significance in the permitted area.
After the meeting today, Land Board Chair William Aila said it is also likely that they will discontinue kayaking permits that now allow people to land at Ka’awaloa and will also likely restrict access to the area now possible via a trail that comes down the mountain. He said the area needs to rest and recover.
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