The Hawaiian Islands are home to unique ecosystems full of species found nowhere else in the world. Our natural environment is the foundation of Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry—the central economic driver throughout the islands. Hawaiʻi is seeing the adverse impacts that millions of visitors, in addition to the growing number of residents, has on our beaches, trails, and other finite resources. The Department of Land and Natural Resources and its many divisions, like the Na Ala Hele program, has the daunting responsibility to manage and protect these resources.
In 2017, Hawaiʻi saw an influx of over 9 million visitors on top of the 1.4 million residents
The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority has maintained a steady rise in visitor arrivals for decades, with an annual budget in 2017 in excess of $88 million.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources operates off of a meer 1.2% of the overall state budget
The Na Ala Hele system currently oversees 855 miles of trails and roads throughout the State – including 35 trails on Kaua‘i, 40 trails on O‘ahu, 1 on Moloka‘i, 1 on Lāna‘i, 22 on Maui, and 18 on Hawai‘i Island.
Why does this matter?
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is the sole state agency responsible for managing our resources and is underfunded and understaffed
As the number of visitors continues to grow, visitors are also increasingly taking to the outdoors without the proper understanding of Hawaiʻi’s natural hazards and landscapes—which leads to accidents and has deleterious impacts on our environment
An ever growing number of visitors has deleterious impacts on our environment—overwhelmed hiking trails, spread of invasive species, and trampled reefs
Visitors are increasingly taking to the outdoors without the proper understanding of Hawaiʻi’s natural hazards and landscapes
The thriving tourism industry should be financially obligated to fund the state agencies that protect the very resources that the industry depends on
How you can help
Call your legislators and ask them to support bills that:
Transfer funds from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority budget to the Department of Land and Natural Resources
Appropriates funds to raise awareness about hiker safety and preparedness
Improves funding for the Na Ala Hele program within the Department of Land and Natural Resources