Visitors will soon need reservations for one of Hawaii’s most popular sites
By Forrest Brown, CNN
It’s one of the most popular spots in Hawai’i, and soon anyone from out-of-state will need a reservation to visit.
The new system for iconic Diamond Head State Monument — or Lē’ahi, to natives — will become effective May 12, the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced in a Monday news release.
On the island of O’ahu, Diamond Head is one of the state’s most visited sites, the DLNR said, and is renowned for the stunning views along its hiking trail.
The system is slated to activate on Thursday, April 28, and will allow for reservations beginning 14 days ahead.
Starting May 12, people without a Hawaii driver’s license or ID must have secured a reservation to enter the park, the news release said. State residents will have free access without reservations, but entry might depend on whether parking spaces are left.
Find out more about the reservation system here.
Why is this happening at Diamond Head?
Hawaii is simply facing the same problem some US national parks and Venice, Italy, are having: Too many people crowding into the same space at the same time.
Overcrowding can sour the travel experience and damage the very things people want to see.
“The new reservation system will mitigate environmental impacts sustained by foot traffic, reduce vehicle congestion in the park and surrounding neighborhoods, improve the experience of kamaʻāina and visitors enjoying the monument,” the news release said.
This is the third state park to require reservations, the release said. The other two are Hā’ena State Park on Kaua’i and Waiʻānapanapa State Park on Maui.
Reservations are also required at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on O’ahu.
“We commend DLNR for bringing this reservation system to fruition, to support the efforts to manage the flow of visitors and residents into Diamond Head State Monument, and make the experience more enjoyable for all,” said Noelani Schilling-Wheeler, executive director of the O’ahu Visitors Bureau.
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Top image: An aerial view shows Diamond Head crater on February 23, 2022. (Photo by Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty images)