Kauai’s Kokee State Park Not Safe for Visitors, Residents

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BY KRISTI STEPHENS – Perhaps the above should read Un-“condition of the roads in Kokee State Park”.

As a resident of the island of Kauai, I have watched over the last several years as the roads in the Park have deteriorated to the point of lunacy.


The potholes have reached bottomless pit proportions, rivaling the view into Kalalau Valley itself. The potholes are so numerous that it is virtually impossible to miss any of them.

During a recent trip to the Park, my husband and I noticed a tourist hanging by his fingernails to the lip of one of the deepest potholes. We rescued him. His vehicle was nowhere to be found. We assume that it descended into the abyss of the pothole.

While a portion of the road was repaved a couple of years ago, and several years before that another portion of the road was repaved, there is still much to be done to bring the road up to the standard due a major State Park attraction. The road is narrow. Add to that the fact that drivers must negotiate thousands of potholes, some as deep as eighteen inches. Drivers also must avoid hitting oncoming vehicles, which are trying to negotiate potholes.

Kokee State Park is possibly the premier State Park in Hawaii. Thousands of visitors from every part of the world travel the road to the top to take in the spectacular view of Kalalau Valley.

It is a travesty that what our visitors see and experience before seeing nature’s splendor is our state’s failure to provide a safe, comfortable trip.

It seems as though it is a matter of Kauai being “out of sight, out of mind”.

Kristi Stephens is a resident of Lihue, Hawaii