HONOLULU -- The state Department of Land and Natural Resources,
which oversees Diamond Head State Monument, implemented a $1 fee
May 1 for visitors who want to climb to the 760-foot summit.
Paying the fee is on the honor system -- a collection box was
installed at the bottom of the one-and-a-half-mile trail.
There still is no charge for visitors who simply come inside the
crater to have a look around but not climb the trail.
The state previously said it would construct a toll booth
outside the crater and charge all who enter, starting Jan. 1.
That plan is still on the table, but it now looks like next year
before that will happen, according to state parks administrator
"We are still planning to [charge everyone who enters the
crater], but it's taking a while to do that, so now we will have a
collection box at the bottom of the trail," said Nagata.
Tour operators such as Polynesian Adventure Tours and E Noa
Tours -- who together bring approximately 50,000 visitors inside
the crater on tour buses for a brief look -- have said they will
eliminate Diamond Head from their itineraries once the state starts
charging to enter the crater.
For now, however, the monument is still on their
The fact that the state has changed its plans and is now
charging just for those who climb the trail was not in response to
tour operators' concerns, said Nagata.
"It's not a compromise; the land board has already told us to go
ahead and start charging," said Nagata.
About 1 million visitors come to Diamond Head each year.
The state hopes to raise between $300,000 and $600,000 a year
from the fees, after administrative costs are deducted.
That money will go into the state park budget, and much of it
will go back into improvements for Diamond Head, said Nagata.
"The Diamond Head State Monument entrance fee is necessary to
help protect, make improvements and maintain Hawaii's most
recognized and photographed landmark, as well as other state
parks," Nagata said in a statement.
Last year the state opened a visitor information booth at the
bottom of the trail with a part-time volunteer inside to answer
It also installed interpretive exhibits about the crater and
made improvements to the walkway leading to the trail.
A new master plan for Diamond Head that was approved by the
state calls for new trails, a 20,000-square-foot visitor center and
a parking lot outside the crater with a shuttle bringing visitors