To strive to conserve the pure nature of the area, its cultural past, and its geological riches, the state has put in place physical barriers as well as enforced legislation. However, there have been concerns about how to maintain such a unique area on the island as fewer fish have been sighted and more locals and visitors have been coming to Ka’ena State Park recently.
Approximately 1,500 acres at Ka’ena might receive greater funding and assistance if a new federal designation, which passed the House earlier this year and is awaiting Senate approval, is approved. However, there are worries that, at a time when officials are also addressing the potential consequences that climate change may impose on Ka’ena, the legislative resolution to designate it as Hawaii’s first national historic area might potentially draw greater attention and afterward be used.
Hawaiians resided in tiny fishing and agricultural communities at Ka’ena up until the 1900s, according to the Bishop Museum’s Sites of Oahu. To carry sugarcane through plantation villages, the Oahu Railway and Land Company built a railway around the point in 1898, tying the north and west sides of the island together. It served as a key place for military soldiers to camp out between World Wars I and II, and the ruins of a Coast Guard watch tower constructed in 1920 can still be seen there.
The geological wonders of Ka’ena, which are in addition to its historical riches, have been compared by scientists and environmentalists to the most untouched natural beauty of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In a paper on the Ka’ena volcano published in 2014, a group of researchers under the direction of University of Hawaii geologist John Stinton discovered that it was among the first volcanoes to emerge on Oahu. Ka’ena Point, the island’s farthest northwesterly point, lies thousands of feet away from submerged remnants.
The Department of Natural Land and Resources now oversees the operation of Ka’ena State Park. Makua to Waialua on Oahu is all included in the 853-acre park. The grounds get tens of thousands of visitors annually. Kurt Cotrell, who is in charge of the State Parks Division, stated, “We’re basically managing a slice of time and trying to optimize people’s experience without having them tear up the resource.”