Wailoa River State Recreation Area occupiers given cease and desist order

  • The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Tuesday presented a cease and desist order to a group claiming the authority of the Hawaiian Kingdom that set up camp in Hilo’s Wailoa State Recreation Area. (DLNR/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Tuesday presented a cease and desist order to a group claiming the authority of the Hawaiian Kingdom that set up camp in Hilo’s Wailoa State Recreation Area. (DLNR/Special to West Hawaii Today)

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources reported Tuesday it had presented a cease and desist order to a group claiming the authority of the Hawaiian Kingdom that set up camp in Hilo’s Wailoa State Recreation Area.

Officers from the department’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) taped one order on a sign the group had put up at the park’s entrance. Another was presented to the group’s leader and another was posted in a small encampment.

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The cease and desist order requires the group to remove tents and other camping gear or the materials will be considered abandoned property as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The state said the group has planted between 50 and 60 taro plants and banana trees across a football-sized field in the popular state park and is claiming jurisdiction over the park.

“They don’t have any permits for planting or for erecting signs at Wailoa. Today a man sat at the park’s entrance drumming. Another person was mowing grass around the fresh plantings,” a media release reads, later noting about a dozen people appeared to be part of the group Tuesday, down from reports of dozens over the weekend.

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In April 2013, the man leading the group was cited after similar illegal activities at Wailoa. DOCARE said it working closely with the DLNR Division of State Parks to return the area to public usage.

“No matter their professed claims of ownership, this recreation area and all other State Parks belong to all of Hawaii for the enjoyment by residents and visitors. Park users have expressed concerns that members of this group are ignoring County and State mandates to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic,” DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said in a prepared statement.

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