Kauai hotels, residents nix parasailing proposal

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LIHUE, Hawaii -- Hotel officials and residents here have made it clear: There will be no parasailing on Kauai.

The state of Hawaii's Kauai Boating Division killed a proposal to hold public hearings on the matter.

Following two public meetings in which residents and hotel associations voiced strong disapproval of the sport in Kauai waters, Kauai Boating Division district manager Vaughan Tyndzik decided against giving the issue any further consideration.

Any operator would first have to get state approval in order to get a permit to operate.

The sport, in which a customer is held aloft by a type of parachute pulled by a boat on open ocean, is allowed in waters off Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. But Kauai won't have it.

"Tourists want the activity on Kauai, but hotels don't want to see parasailing in front of their properties. They think it will ruin the scenery," said Jeremy Hillstrom of Kapaa, who was petitioning the state for a parasailing operation on Kauai.

The Poipu Beach Resort Association, on the south side of Kauai, is against the idea of parasailing on environmental grounds, said executive director Margy Parker.

"This area is filled with endangered species -- Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, and reef fish -- and everyone here thought that parasailing would be disruptive to the marine life," said Parker. "It's not that we are opposed to parasailing as a business."

Parker's comments came just days before a very rare and endangered Hawaiian monk seal was born on Poipu Beach. There are only 10 to 12 of the seals known to exist on Kauai and just 33 that inhabit waters around the six main Hawaiian islands.

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