Campers asked to leave Spencer Park

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii County officials have asked law enforcement to address a number of campers who have staked out at Spencer Beach Park.

On Friday afternoon, Hawaii Police Maj. Robert Wagner confirmed about 40 campers without permits are at the beach. While they have been there for sometime, it was brought to the attention of the county when permit-holding campers went to the area and found their spots taken.

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“The county asked us to go down there and talk to the campers,” Wagner said.

The major said officers went to the Waimea beach to talk and tell them they needed permits to camp.

According to Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe, some of the campers claimed to be from Leilani Estates and Seaview.

That area is currently the center of several lava eruptions, which has displaced 2,000 people. Twenty-two fissures have opened since May 3 and about 40 structures have been destroyed.

Okabe said the individuals camping at Spencer’s asked to stay a few days, and then expanded the time.

“We have people who have reserved a year ago and have permits,” the managing director said. “Police are down there and are trying to mitigate the situation.”

Okabe added that all county parks are not shelters. Areas have been made available for those displaced by lava.

Okabe said a shelter in Pahoa has the capacity for 800 people. There is also a field for those who want to put up tents. There is food and all the facilities to assist them.

“It’s very unfortunate that some people feel entitled to certain facilities when others have permits,” Okabe said. “They need to leave.”

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Wagner didn’t know if any of the campers were displaced by lava.

West Hawaii Today reporter Nancy Cook Lauer contributed to this report.