On January 14, 2021, county and state officials announced a plan to place boulders and other barriers on either side of Wāwāmalu Beach on Oʻahu. The barriers will block off-road vehicles from the sand while maintaining parking and access for swimmers, surfers, fishers and other beachgoers. This victory will protect indigenous Hawaiian Monk Seal habitat, native plants, and sensitive sand dune systems.
For close to a decade, a coalition of community members, neighborhood boards, and non-profits including Surfrider Foundation Oahu, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, and Sierra Club Oahu Group have been working with City of Honolulu and State of Hawaii officials to protect the native sand dunes at Wāwāmalu Beach. The beach is part of the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, which runs from the Makapu’u Lighthouse down to Wāwāmalu.
Unfortunately, the area is a popular spot for illegal off-roading by large trucks and other vehicles. Though off-roading is already illegal, without the physical barriers, vehicles were able access the beach. Off-roading directly degrades not only the dune ecosystem and destroys native plants, but also threatens wildlife including the critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal.