Four arrested for trying to plant a garden in a state park in Hilo

Four people were cited by law enforcement officers after they attempted to plant a ‘Kanaka garden’ in the Wailoa River State Recreation Area in Hilo, the state reported today.

The state’s Resource Conservation and Enforcement Division said Sunday’s incident was the third attempt to plant an illegal garden at the state park since 2013.

The four were cited for a number of charges, including illegally introducing plants onto public property and altering geological features by digging into well-kept grass.

About a dozen people showed up in response to the social media call from Gene Tamashiro, 65, of Hilo, officials said. In his message, Tamashiro claimed that the Wailoa River State Recreation Area is not owned by the state.

This is the third time Tamashiro has received a ticket for illegally planting vegetation in the park, according to the state. In 2013, and again in January 2021, he and others were cited for the same activities.

Besides Tamashiro, the others cited on Sunday were Joanna Pike, 58, of Laupahoehoe; Aero-Travis Olson-Coomer, 42, of Pahoa; and Mia Pavao, 23, from Pahoa.

The four are scheduled to appear in Hilo District Court after DOCARE officers observed them digging up grass or planting trees or shrubs, officials said.

Leon E. Hill