Commercial ban needed at park during canoe season

We are in the midst of the whale season on Maui. Schoolchildren and visitors as well as residents are happy to welcome the whales back to their winter playground.

It is such a wonderful time of year for Na Kupuna O Maui, as our politicians have banned thrillcraft operations to protect the whales and their babies in our sanctuary waters.

Na Kupuna questions why politicians do not extend their protection of rights to our children and cultural practitioners. Specifically, Na Kupuna would like to see a ban of all commercial activity at Hanakao’o Beach Park during canoe season.

The conflict of uses at that time is preposterous with jet ski and parasail operators picking up passengers on the same beach in their motorized boats and children playing in the area unaware of the inherent dangers of the multiple uses.

Hanakao’o is home to numerous canoe clubs hosting islandwide and statewide regattas. Children spend their afternoons learning how to paddle. Na Kupuna has been patient, as conflicts in the past between motorized vessels and swimmers have been fatal or maiming.

We do not ask for a total ban all year long. We are flexible and willing to compromise, and humbly request our elected representatives to consider relocating these operations to other areas during canoe season only. There are so many commercially designated areas on the west side that would be more appropriate and safe.

Patricia Nishiyama

Na Kupuna O Maui