Shoreline Public Access


The Hawaii CZM Program is responsible for protecting, creating, and enhancing public access to the coast (HRS § 205A-2). Coastal areas provide many recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, swimming, sunbathing, nature watching, surfing, and diving. These activities not only drive coastal tourism, helping to fuel our economy, but are also critical components of Hawaii’s social and cultural fabric. However, as coastal development and Hawaii’s resident and tourist populations continue to rise, public access to the coast is under increased pressure from population growth and changing land uses. Moreover, traditional sources of funding for the acquisition and maintenance of shoreline public access in Hawaii are in decline. In light of these and other emerging issues, the Hawaii CZM Program has developed and is in the process of implementing a five year strategy to enhance shoreline public access in Hawaii.

Relevant information pertaining to shoreline public access in Hawaii and the Hawaii CZM Program’s five year public access enhancement strategy is provided for your reference below.


Relevant CZM Objectives & Policies (HRS § 205A-2)

Recreational Resources:

Objective: Provide coastal recreational opportunities accessible to the public.


(A) Improve coordination and funding of coastal recreation planning and management; and

(B) Provide adequate, accessible, and diverse recreational opportunities in the coastal zone management area by:

(i) Protecting coastal resources uniquely suited for recreational activities that cannot be provided in other areas;

(ii) Requiring replacement of coastal resources having significant recreational value, including but not limited to surfing sites and sandy beaches, when such resources will be unavoidably damaged by development; or requiring reasonable monetary compensation to the State for recreation when replacement is not feasible or desirable;

(iii) Providing and managing adequate public access, consistent with conservation of natural resources, to and along shorelines with recreational value;

(iv) Providing an adequate supply of shoreline public parks and other recreational facilities suitable for public recreation;

(v) Encouraging expanded public recreational use of county, state and federally owned or controlled shoreline lands and waters having recreational value;

(vi) Adopting water quality standards and regulating point and non-point sources of pollution to protect and where feasible, restore the recreational value of coastal waters;

(vii) Developing new shoreline recreational opportunities, where appropriate, such as artificial lagoons, artificial beaches, artificial reefs for surfing and fishing; and

(viii) Encouraging reasonable dedication of shoreline areas with recreational value for public use as part of discretionary approvals or permits by the land use commission, board of land and natural resources, and county authorities; and crediting such dedication against the requirements of section 46-6.

Other Relevant State & County Shoreline Public Access Authorities
Coming Soon!
Shoreline Access Inventory
Coming Soon!
Section 309 Shoreline Public Access Enhancement Strategy (FY 2011-2015)

Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), as amended in 1990 and 1996, establishes a voluntary coastal zone enhancement grants program to encourage State and Territory Coastal Management Programs (CMPs) to develop program changes in one or more of the following nine enhancement areas: Wetlands, Coastal Hazards, Public Access, Marine Debris, Cumulative and Secondary Impacts, Special Area Management Planning, Ocean/Great Lakes Resources, Energy and Government Facility Siting, and Aquaculture. Under this program, the Secretary of Commerce is authorized to make awards to states and territories to develop and submit for federal approval, program changes that support attainment of one or more of the enhancement area objectives. All CMPs must successfully complete an approved Assessment and Strategy to be eligible for Section 309 funding.

In 2010, the Hawaii CZM Program developed a five year strategy to address emerging issues related to shoreline public access in Hawaii as part of its approved Section 309 Assessment and Strategy (FY 2011-2015).

A summary of anticipated project outcomes and status is provided below:

(1)    Alternative financing plan for shoreline access acquisition and maintenance. 

(2)    Amendments to financing and taxation statutes (e.g., Title 5, HRS, and Chapter 115, HRS, Public Access to Coastal and Inland Recreation Areas).

  • Status – In progress

 (3)    Amendments to administrative rules.

  • Status – In progress

 (4)    Public access website to implement and support coastal land acquisition program changes.

  • Status – In progress