Cracking down on Illegal Hikers


A new proposal is looking to get tough on hikers trespassing on off-limits trails. There are thousands of hikes statewide; some are legal, others aren’t. Hundreds of people are rescued in Hawaii each year. Hikers already face a fine. But now lawmakers are looking to add an extra fine for those that run into trouble on these illegal hikes, especially those who willingly disregard warning signs on a state public trail. Sen. Gabbard said it costs around $1,500 for air rescue, and Hawaii residents foot the bill. In a story KHON2 did on Oct. 27, 2018, Honolulu Fire and Rescue averaged nearly one rescue a day to assist hikers in distress. From Jan. 1 to Oct. 27, 2018, there were already 291 rescues.

© Snohomish HRT/Vimeo

“Your actions have consequences, and so people need to take responsibility for their behavior. If you’re going to break the law, if you’re going to trespass, then you should suffer the consequences, and it just doesn’t seem fair to me that Hawaii taxpayers have to pay for someone else’s irresponsibility,” Sen. Gabbard said. As of right now, the current status of the law says that the agency who does the rescues, it says you may ask for reimbursement for the cost of the rescue, this was changed to ‘shall. People will now be forced to pay back the state for the expenses that cost them to rescue you. Also, keep in mind the folks that put their lives on the line to make some of these rescues,” Sen. Gabbard said. “Why put their lives in danger for someone else’s stupidity?”

“This bill would further discourage individuals by increasing penalties for unlawfully entering trails that were closed to the public.””

— Stephen D. Gerona III (Captain Specialized Services Division)