- Associated Press - Thursday, July 7, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - State officials say they plan to impose restrictions on camping along the Waianae coast at Kaena Point State Park in response to the mess left behind after a busy Fourth of July weekend.

State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell announced Tuesday officials are considering cutting down the number of visitors by implementing a fee to camp in the area. He also says Makua Beach will remain closed for an undetermined period this fall while it gets cleaned.

“We need to reduce this insane amount of opala that is left behind and start to heal, restore and clean up the resource,” Cottrell said. (“Opala” means “trash” in Hawaiian.)

Bags of trash, clothes and chairs were among the mess of items left scattered about at the site. Officials also say some campers dug a hole in the sand and used it as a toilet. Cottrell said that could be a threat to public health.

“Until we conduct further tests, we can’t say whether it’s even safe for people to be in the area, because the soils may be contaminated or infected,” Cottrell said.

It is illegal to camp at Makua, but the state has allowed it on weekends in a long-standing informal agreement with the community. Cottrell said the problem with trash on the beach has been an ongoing issue.

“Part of the problem is every weekend we clean up the rubbish, and every weekend they come back and leave more,” Cottrell said. “Some people are good, responsible. They clean up after themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone does that.”

Workers and volunteers worked Tuesday to clean up Kaena Point State Park, from Makua down to Yokohama.

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