Four busted for trying to plant garden at state park in Hilo

Four people were cited by state enforcement officers after attempting to plant a “kanaka garden” at Wailoa River State Recreation Area in Hilo, the state reported today.

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

The four were cited on a number of charges, including unlawful introduction of plant life on public property and altering geological features by digging into manicured grass.

A dozen people showed up in response to social media call by Gene Tamashiro, 65, of Hilo, officials said. In his posting, Tamashiro claimed Wailoa River State Recreation Area does not belong to the state.

This is the third time Tamashiro has been ticketed 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.

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

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