The popular Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai closed its gates to the public on January 17th. It’s not expected to re-open until the end of April. Scott Giarman on Kauai has more on the reasons for the closing and the Refuge’s plans for visitors during the closing period.
The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most popular visitor attractions on Kauai and in the state. Last year, USA Today ranked it as the 9th best National Wildlife Refuge in the nation. An estimated quarter million visitors pass through the main gates every year and another quarter million are content with the breathtaking view from its Kilauea Road Overlook. So the decision to close the Refuge for a quarter of this year was not taken lightly. In a statement, Supervisory Park Ranger Jennifer Waipa said that it was essential to address “issues that are quickly escalating along the pathway to the Point … for the future of public safety and visitation at the Refuge.”
Over the years, the trail leading to the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse has experienced erosion, undermining and settling. To address this, heavy equipment will be brought in to reinforce the ground on the cliff-face beneath the trail. To slow future erosion of the trail, a drainage system will be installed to direct storm water into the ravine west of the refuge. The entire length of the walking trail will also be re-paved. An environmental assessment found that none of this work would have significant impacts on any of the natural resources at the site.
During the closure, the Overlook will be accessible with staff and docents providing information Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 to 4. The refuge is scheduled to re-open on April 30th.