UPDATE: The flood gauge has been repaired at the national park in Kipahulu, Swimming in the pools is now offered, again (weather and safety permitting.)
On August 11th, stream monitoring equipment was stolen from ‘Ohe’o Stream, located in Haleakala National Park in the Kipahulu region of Maui. More than three months later, the area remains closed to swimming, causing frustration among both residents and visitors of the island.
Despite its remote location, ‘Ohe’o Gulch (aka ‘Seven Sacred Pools’) is one of the most popular stops in East Maui, thanks to its multitude of waterfalls, swimming areas, onsite campsites, lush hiking trails through Maui’s most famous bamboo forest, historical artifacts, and more.
While Park policy dictates that “the stream must remain closed whenever equipment is not functional,” what was once quoted as a several-week fix is now nearly several months in the works.
One of the most unfortunate results of this, however, is that visitors in search of alternate waterfalls and swimming holes are now finding themselves in dangerous situations as they follow unmarked paths, sometimes through private property, looking for a similar location and experience.
Twin Falls Maui, the first waterfall along the Road to Hana, already sees huge numbers of visitors, evidenced by the long line of cars parked along the road during its busiest times of day. In addition, beaches along the Road to Hana have no lifeguards, creating dangerous swimming conditions as inclement weather, strong rip currents and large waves push unsuspecting visitors near sharp cliff lines and lava rock.
Though there are several waterfalls to swim in along the Road to Hana, almost none are as easily accessible as those at Seven Sacred Pools. While we understand that the stolen equipment triggers vital flash floods alarm signals, the continued closure of this area has created side effects, however inadvertently, that may have made things just as dangerous elsewhere across East Maui.
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