- Associated Press - Monday, May 15, 2017

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii law enforcement officers have arrested 17 people during a pair of sweeps on Kauai Island’s west coast.

The people had been arrested this past week from Napali Coast State Wilderness Park for being in a closed area without a valid permit, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2qnJyfH ).

Officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources made the arrests acting on potential illegal activity going on in Kalalau, Chief Robert Farrell said.

Officials heard about the illegal activity at Kalalau through social media, Farrell said.

“Some of the behavior depicted on blogs and websites is brazen, clearly illegal, disrespectful to the Hawaiian culture, damaging to natural resources, and completely devoid of any appreciation for the wilderness character of the Napali Coast,” Farrell said.

What had been posted on social media caused significant public outrage, Hawaii Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said.

Three of the 17 people arrested are accused of illegally residing in Kalalau Valley for a long period of time.

Napali is Hawaii’s largest and most remote state park, so it never had funding for full-time coastal staff, Cottrell said.

“Our hope is to get new positions and funding authorized specifically dedicated to the Napali Coast to tackle this ongoing issue,” Cottrell said.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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