Friday, April 14, 2017

Star-Advertiser Column on Beach Access

Here's an article that appeared in the April 14, 2017 edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser to address questions about finding current info on public beach access:

Hawaii News| Kokua Line
Beach access points can be
found in book, plus online 
By Christine Donnelly Posted April 14, 2017 April 14, 2017 

Question: I was in a neighborhood on the North Shore that I haven’t gone to in a while. I was going to a beach via an access point but found that it was blocked, presumably by the owners next to the access. Is there a way for me and others to find a map to the beach access locations around the island? I didn’t want to go around the blockade just in case it wasn’t a true access point. 

Answer: Yes, there are several options, in print and online. Here are a few: 

 “O‘ahu Beach Access: A Guide to O‘ahu’s Beaches through the Public Rights of Way,” provides detailed information about 89 public rights-of-way (PROW) on Oahu, including photos, maps and directions, plus a brief introduction to the sometimes contentious history of preserving shoreline access. The book lists 32 beach parks or PROWs on Oahu’s North Shore. You didn’t mention which beach lane you tried to use, so we can’t confirm whether it is a public one. However, the books’ authors say that some private landowners have been known to obscure or obstruct public lanes, a practice they hoped the book’s publication would deter. This guide, first published in 2012, is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble at Ala Moana Center (eight copies were on hand Wednesday), as well as from booksellers online. 

A map at 808news/oahuaccess allows users to click on coastal sites around Oahu to retrieve information about specific locations, including whether there are restrooms or lifeguards at the site. The website was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with help from state and city agencies as an approximate guide to publicly accessible shoreline access points owned or leased by the municipal, state or federal governments.

Government agencies are supposed to keep the map up to date, according to news reports publicizing the website in 2012. It is based on field surveys cross-checked with Tax Map Keys. 
The city Department of Parks and Recreation posts a list of beach rights-of-way at 808news/rowlist, but it does not provide specific locations in each case. It lists Emergency Response Locations (ERL) by number and general location, designating signs and pathways to Oahu’s shoreline for emergency responders (which the general public also can use). For examples, the location of ERL 259A is listed simply as “Au Street A,” while ERL 134A carries the more precise description “Kahala Avenue at Hunakai Street.” Still, it’s free, and simple to download and print the list, which comes in handy for locations where intersections are given. 

We’d be happy to hear from readers who have other favorite guides, links or apps tracking access to Oahu’s shoreline. Please email suggestions to

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