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Hawaii: Militarizing a National Park on the Big Island

March 19, 2009

Nice prison-type walls at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park.  I’m sure the local cops love the effect

Last year my wife and I toured Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park, known in ancient times as “The Place of Refuge”, during a visit to the Big Island of Hawaii for a medical conference. After a pleasant greeting from the young woman at the main entrance, we approached a counter at the park office to buy water and look at other items for sale. To our astonishment, we were met with arrogance and venom by so-called “park rangers” who ostentatiously brandished side-arms along with contempt for our queries. To think that a place of traditional refuge would be overseen by rude, militarized law-enforcement types is beyond our comprehension. Their actions showed disrespect not only for us, but for the sacred Hawaiian site they guard so jealously.

Refuge, but at what price?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob Zakrzewski permalink
    March 16, 2010 5:14 pm

    Wow! My family and I were there in January and didn’t have that experience at all.

    While on the big island, we made it to all four national parks (junior ranger program / rewards are AWESOME!) and had amazing customer service at each of them.

    The most helpful Ranger was George Enuton at Puukohola Heiau. He took the time to get our 8 year old son excited about participating in the junior ranger program without “pushing” him into it. He also spoke to the group of people at the park about it’s history and did a fantastic job bringing all of the park’s guests into the conversation.

    Hopefully you were able to find some of the Aloha spirit during your visit like my family did.


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