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    What do I need to know about hosting guided tours or experiences in parks and recreational areas of Hawai'i?

    These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.

    Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.

    Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*

    I’m hosting an Experience in a public park in Hawai‘i. Do I need a reservation or a permit?

    It depends. You may need a permit or reservation for certain types of Experiences and for certain places where you are hosting.

    Land use regulation in Hawai‘i is unique. It is important to work closely with the appropriate agencies when planning Experiences in Hawai‘i’s state and national parks.

    The following four general steps will help you to understand whether you need a permit or reservation for your Experience:

    • Step 1: Choose your location. If you have a location in mind, determine which governmental authority manages that park or facility. If you do not have a location in mind, websites for the relevant governmental authorities identify the parks and facilities in your area. Search for the location and amenities that best suits your Experience!
    • Step 2: Determine whether you are hosting a “special use” or “special event.” Once you have a location, contact the governmental authority to ask whether you are hosting the type of Experience that requires a permit for that location.
    • For example, an Experience in a state park that involves a gathering of more than 25 guests would be considered a special event and would require a permit.
    • Similarly, an Experience in a national park that involves guided hiking for compensation would require a permit.
    • Step 3: If you need a special use permit, a commercial use authorization or any other type of permit, complete the application process. Once you have determined that you are hosting an Experience that requires a permit, you’ll need to complete the appropriate permit application process and receive that permit before hosting your Experience.
    • Step 4: Determine whether you need to reserve your location and complete the reservation process. If you don’t need any type of permit, you may still need to reserve your park area or facility. Figure out whether your location requires a reservation or request and, if it does, complete the reservation process.

    Step 1: Choose your Location.

    I’ve selected the park or recreational area where I want to host my Experience. With whom do I need to speak regarding the park or facility?

    State Parks:

    If you plan to host your Experience in a state park, you should understand what activities are allowed and know may need to obtain a permit or make or reservation from the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks (“Division of State Parks”). Visit the Division of State Parks’ website to see whether your planned activities are allowed in the park and if a permit is required. The Division of State Parks provides lists of the state parks on each island— Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Maui and Moloka‘i— that include direct links to the individual park webpages. If you have any questions, it’s a good idea to call the Division of State Parks to ask whether an activity is permitted or a permit or reservation is necessary.

    National Parks:

    If you plan to host your Experience in a national park, all applicable permits or reservations will be made with the National Parks Service.

    If you plan to host an Experience in one of the national parks, we encourage you to visit that National Parks Service website to see whether the planned activities are allowed and to call that park office to ask whether a permit or reservation is necessary. The National Parks Service provides a list of national parks in Hawai‘i and direct links to each website.

    I don’t have a specific park in mind, how do I find a location that best suits my Experience.

    State Parks:

    The Division of State Parks website includes a list of state parks for Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Maui and Moloka‘i. The list notes whether hiking, camping/lodging, beaches or historic sites are available at each park. The individual state park web pages can also help you identify the activities, facilities and amenities for which you’re looking, including whether the park has restrooms, showers, campsites and parking and whether alcohol is allowed. Each state park webpage lists the hours and entrance fees, if any. For example, Ka‘ena Point State Park is open during daylight hours and there is no entrance fee. The park allows beachgoing, hiking and fishing. There are restrooms, showers and trashcans at the park. Alcohol, camping and motorized vehicles are prohibited.

    National Parks:

    The National Parks Service website provides a list of national parks in Hawai‘i with direct links to the websites for each park. Each national park website provides information to help you plan your visit. The individual national park websites can also help you identify the activities, facilities and amenities for which you’re looking, including whether the park has restrooms, showers, campsites, parking and whether alcohol is allowed. Each national park website lists the operating hours and entrance fees, if any. For example, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day and the entrance fees depend on the type of vehicle and the number of people who are entering the park. The park allows various activities, including hiking and biking. There are two designated campgrounds. There is also a visitor center and a museum with restrooms and trash cans. Drones are prohibited.

    I would like to host an activity that includes a visit to heiau or other sacred sites. Is there anything I should consider?

    Many locations in Hawaii have special historical, religious, or cultural significance for native Hawaiians. These sites, or Wahi Pana, should be treated with the utmost respect, honor and reverence. Please see the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Resource Guide section on “Cultural Sensitivities”, which discourages mass visitation and emphasizes that visitors should not disturb cultural or historic sites. In addition, the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources publishes a brochure with guidelines for responsible visitation of these sites.

    Step 2: How can I determine whether my Experience is considered a “special use” or “special event”?

    We suggest starting with the right park’s webpage. If you can’t find the necessary information, the best course of action is to call the right park office.

    Whether your Experience constitutes a special event or another activity that requires a permit depends on the nature of the activity and where you plan to host it.

    For state parks managed by the Division of State Parks:

    If you’re planning to host an Experience in a state park, start by visiting the park’s webpage to see whether your proposed activities would be considered a “special use” and require a permit. If that information is unavailable, you can call the Division of State Parks to discuss the Experience. The Division of State Parks will be able to explain whether the Experience is allowed in the state park. If it is allowed, the Division of State Parks will explain what permit, if any, is required and what information it will need to process that permit.

    The Division of State Parks website lists the contact information for each island’s district office. You should call the district office of your park of interest.

    For parks managed by the National Parks Service:

    If you’re planning to host an Experience in a national park, start by visiting the park’s webpage to see whether your proposed activities would be considered a “special event” and require a permit. If that information is unavailable, you can call the National Parks Service to discuss the Experience. The National Parks Service will be able to explain whether the Experience is allowed in the national park. If it is allowed, the National Parks Service will explain what permit, if any, is required and what information it will need to process that permit.

    The National Parks Service website provides direct links to the website for each national park, which include contact information for each.

    Step 3: How do I get a permit?

    If you’re hosting in a state park managed by the Division of State Parks:

    If you’re hosting an Experience in a state park, the first step is to call the appropriate state park district office for Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Maui or Moloka‘i to explain the details of your planned Experience.

    If the Experience is allowed, staff will explain the information that must be submitted to the Division of State Parks to be considered for a special use permit or other applicable permit, the requirements for the permit (including insurance) and the associated fees. Depending on the park and the nature of the Experience, multiple permits may be required and special conditions may apply. Licenses and specific training may be also required.

    Before calling the appropriate district office to explain the details of your planned Experience, we recommend visiting the webpage of the state park of interest to ensure your Experience does not involve prohibited activities.

    If you’re hosting an Experience in a park that is managed by the National Parks Service:

    If you’re hosting an Experience in a national park, the first step is to call the office of the national park of interest, which is listed on the National Parks Service website. If your Experience is one that the National Parks Service will allow, staff will explain the information that must be submitted to the office with the appropriate special use permit, commercial use authorization or concession permit application, the requirements for that permit (including insurance) and the associated fees.

    Depending on the national park and the nature of the Experience, multiple permits could be required and special conditions could apply. Licenses and specific training may be also required.

    Step 4: Do I need to reserve my location and, if so, how do I do it?

    If your Experience requires that you host in a specific location in the park, you may want to apply for a permit or reservation in order to ensure that you will be able to use the specific area in a park and to be certain that no one else has been issued a permit to use that area during that same time.

    For state parks managed by the Division of State Parks:

    If you’re planning to host an Experience in a state park, you should visit the webpage for that park to see whether reservations are required or possible. Certain areas and activities are available by reservation only. For example, camping permits for the Nāpali Coast are popular and often sell out months in advance.

    Note: A permit may give the permit-holder the right to hold his or her Experience in a specific area, but it typically will not guarantee exclusive use of an area within a park.

    For national parks managed by the National Parks Service:

    If you’re planning to host an Experience in a national park, you should visit the webpage of that national park to see whether reservations are required or possible. The National Parks Service website provides direct links to the websites of each national park, which include information for planning visits and the contact information for each park.

    Certain areas and activities are available by reservation only. For example, viewing the sunrise at Haleakalā National Park requires a reservation, which can be made up to 60 days in advance.

    Do I need to consider any other type of permit to host my Experience?

    Yes. These pages provide only an introduction to the permits and approvals that may be required for hosting an Experience in a state or national park in Hawai‘i. You should ensure that all applicable permits have been secured prior to the Experience. Depending on the activity that you will be hosting, you may need to obtain additional permits specific to that activity. You should always call the Division of State Parks or National Parks Service, as applicable, to ensure that you have all of the required approvals for your hosted Experience. A few examples of additional permits follow.

    Group Use Permits

    In state parks, the Division of State Parks requires a group use permit for any activity that involves a group of 25 people or more. Depending on the activity, additional permits may be required as well.

    Research Permits

    Collection of items from any national park, including without limitation, soil, rocks, artifacts, plants or their parts, animals (including insects) or their nests or eggs, is highly regulated. If your Experience includes any of these activities in national parks, you are required to obtain a research permit prior to your activity. You may also be required to obtain a research permit if your activity involves the use of any land in the national park that is otherwise closed to the public. For further information, we recommend you visit the National Park Service Research Permit and Reporting System website.

    Collection of items from state parks is similarly restricted or prohibited. If your Experience involves any of these activities, you should call the appropriate state park district office for Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Maui or Moloka‘i, as applicable, to see whether the activity allowed with a permit.

    Film and Photography Permits

    Commercial filming, photography and sound recording in state or national parks requires a permit. Generally, visitors using cameras and other recording devices for their personal use do not need permits. We recommend visiting the park website or calling the right park office if you plan to film or photograph a state or national park as part of your experience.

    *Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).

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