Posted on June 2, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room

(Hau’ula, O’ahu) – Sacred Falls State Park has been closed for more than two decades, following a 1999 rockslide that injured dozens of people and killed eight. Yet, fueled largely by social media posts and travel, people are steadily entering the area.

On Wednesday, a trio of officers from the DLNR’s Resource Conservation and Enforcement Division (DOCARE), addressed one of the most egregious social media posts, removing a wooden swing , hanging from the only remaining tree, at the foot of the 80-foot-high waterfall.

Officers say he appeared earlier this year. Large boulders surrounding the base of the swing did not magically appear but fell from above.

DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said: “Despite our earnest efforts to ask people to remove the swing images from their social media pages, some influencers continue to encourage others to do stupid things that could harm them. kill or seriously injure them by following their messages”.

Yesterday, the three DOCARE agents said it is still strange to walk up to the waterfall, perhaps because they are all fully aware of what happened over 20 years ago.

“We don’t have the luxury of putting agents here every day,” DOCARE agent Edward Thompson said. Thompson, 30, is in the age group that seems to be responsible for most of the posts, so he understands the motivation to get likes, clicks and friends.

“We understand wanting to post cool and exciting adventures on Instagram or Facebook, but people have to ask themselves, is it worth the risk? In addition to being cited or stopped, falling rocks, even small ones, can seriously injure or kill someone, as history has shown. The Sacred Falls, or Kaliuwa’a, is important to Hawaiians, and it’s disrespectful for people to ignore multiple warning signs and years and years of reminders that the area is closed.

Part of the message shared by DLNR and its state parks division, over the years and included as a video accessible to the QRC on signs at and beyond locked gates, asks potential offenders to consider themselves not only themselves, but the first responders who risk their own lives to rescue them in an emergency.

Thompson, a second-year DOCARE officer, teamed up with other officers to pull the swing out. Climbing onto Officer Kai Kamauu’s shoulders first, Thompson climbed the tree to cut the line and ropes holding the swing in place.

“It is important that locals and visitors understand the natural and cultural significance of these places. We do this not to prevent people from enjoying our wonderful natural and cultural resources, but to get people to understand the importance of these places to Native Hawaiians as a point of ancestry. That consideration, along with the risks to themselves and others, is what we want people to really think about before coming here illegally,” Thompson said.

Chief Redulla concluded: “When we asked social media posters to remove information from Sacred Falls, some simply deleted our requests. Others acknowledge that the park is closed, but tell readers and viewers that the risk is worth it. It is this entitlement mentality that we are trying to penetrate, unfortunately without universal success. DOCARE uses social media posts to identify people who enter the park illegally and to potentially issue them citations.

During the swing removal operation, a woman was cited by an officer for being in a closed area. When contacted, she was leading a dozen young people on a hike to the waterfall and the danger zone.

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(All images/videos courtesy of DLNR)

HD video – Illegal swing removed in Sacred Falls (June 1, 2022):

(Shooting sheet attached)

Photographs – Sacred Falls Swing social media posts:


Media contacts:

Dan Denison

Senior Communications Manager

Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources

[email protected]


Madison Rice

Communications Specialist

Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources

[email protected]



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