Sacred Falls State Park
|Sacred Falls State Park|
|Location||Hau'ula, Hawaii, Hawaii, United States|
|Area||1,370 acres (5.5 km2)|
|Website||Dept of Land & Natural Resources|
Sacred Falls State Park (Kaliuwaʻa in Hawaiian), is a closed state park located in Hau'ula on the North Shore of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It has been closed since the rockfall that occurred on Mother's Day in 1999. Although people caught entering the park are subject to hefty fines, hikers continue to trespass into the park 20 years later. The park encompasses Kaluanui gulch and the waterfalls at its end, after which it is named. It is a place in Koolaolao, with lots of associated Hawaiian lore:
"Kaliuwaa (sic) is the most famous of all the valleys in the district of Koolauloa."
According to Hawaiian beliefs, visitors were encouraged to lay leaves and place stones on them, as they entered the valley, gorge and falls, in order to show respect to the demigod associated with the location.
Kaliuwaʻa, also known as Sacred Falls, is the valley, the perpendicular cliffs, streams, and falls (Sacred Falls), located in Hauʻula, Oʻahu. A short distance below the falls is a trough-like gouge up the cliff where the pig demigod, Kamapuaʻa, is believed to have leaned against the cliff so that members of his family might climb up his body and escape their enemies. The stream and valley are also called Kaluanui.
Mother's Day tragedy
The park was closed indefinitely after a fatal rockfall on May 9, 1999 that killed eight hikers and injured many others, in the canyon where the waterfall is located. Over twenty incidents where people (tourists and locals alike) had been killed or injured had occurred at Sacred Falls, but this was, by far, the deadliest. After the rockfall, being unable to lower ropes with helicopter, first responders slowly carried the injured, dead and dying 2.2 miles out of the park.
While state officials employ many tactics to discourage visitors from entering the park, and remind visitors that it is illegal to enter there, the park which remains behind closed gates, still attracts visitors. Many people disregard the danger and the warnings and say people should be allowed to go there "at their own risk", others acknowledge the risk is not worth it.
Because of the danger to first responders and to the public, the city of Honolulu has been strictly enforcing and citing people $2500 for a first violation of entering the closed park, $5000 for a second violation, and $10000 for the third violation. The signs posted at the entrance of the park have a QR code, targeting smart phone users, who can scan the QR code and watch a video detailing information about the location, on their mobile device.
- Nakaso, Dan (May 9, 2019). "Hikers still trespassing at Sacred Falls 20 years after tragedy". Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
- "Kaliuwaa: Scene of the Demigod Kamapuaaʻs Escape from Olopana". Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library.
- Fukutomi, Bryant; Pang, Gordon Y.K.; Tighe, Lori (May 10, 1999). "A roar like thunder, then screams of agony". Honolulu Star Bulletin.
- "Officials remind hikers Sacred Falls State Park is closed". Department of Land and Natural Resources. U.S. Army. June 25, 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
- KITV Honolulu News article from 2010 on the likelihood of a reopening of the park
- Ross, Mary. "The Tragedy of Sacred Falls, the most beautiful Park on the Island of Oahu". World of Waterfalls.
- "Sacred Falls Don't Risk Your Life a Fine or Jail!". YouTube. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
- "Sacred Falls-QRC Signs Web Feature". VIMEO. Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources.
A newly released video from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources showing the implementation of our new QRC signs
A video from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources highlights the personal and legal perils of entering Sacred Falls State Park on Oahu. Intended to counter countless blogs and websites which encourage hikers to trespass into the park, despite dozens of warning signs, this video traces the tragic history of death at Sacred Falls and chronicles DLNR law enforcement efforts to try and curb illegal entry.