NARS Permit Guidelines

Please refer to the Rules page for information on the what types of activities require a special use permit. To apply for a permit, please fill out the NARS permit application, and email  signed application to: 

Below are the Hawai‘i Administrative Rules § 13-209-5 and § 13-209-5.5

§ 13-209-5 Special-use permits.

(a) The board or its authorized representative, with the approval of the commission or its authorized representative, may issue permits to conduct activities otherwise prohibited by section 13-209-4 for research, education, management, or for any other purpose consistent with chapter 195, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.

(b) No permit may be valid for more than one year from date of issuance. The board may waive this restriction for permits issued to other governmental agencies where the board determines such a waiver to be in the best interest of the State.

(c) All special-use permits shall be subject to standard conditions, as approved by the board, including but not limited to the following:

(1) The permittee shall adhere to specifications given in the permit application;

(2) Disturbance of vegetation and wildlife shall be avoided as much as possible;

(3) Precautions shall be taken to prevent introductions of plants or animals not naturally present in the area. The permittee is responsible for making sure that participants’ clothes, equipment, and vehicles are free of seeds or dirt to lessen the chance of introducing any non-native plants or soil animals. Should an infestation develop attributable to permittee, the permittee is responsible for eradication by methods specified by the department;

(4) This permit is not transferable;

(5) This permit does not exempt the permittee from complying with any other applicable rule or statute;

(6) The State of Hawai‘i shall be released and held harmless from any and all liability for injuries or death, or damage or loss of property however occurring during any activity related to this permit.

(d) The board or its authorized representative may attach special conditions on the special-use permit, including but not limited to reporting requirements, limitations on the size of groups or the length of time for which the permit is valid. Failure to comply with any of these conditions shall render a permit void.

(e) All permittees shall carry the permit with them at all times while in the reserve and shall, upon request, show the permit to any law enforcement officer or the board or its authorized representative.

(f) Permits are not transferable. If the permittee is a partnership, joint venture, or corporation, the sale or transfer of 25 percent or more of ownership interest or stocks by dissolution, merger, or any other means, shall be deemed a transfer for purposes of this subsection and subject to the right of the department to terminate this permit effective the date of the sale or transfer.

(g) The board or its authorized representative may revoke or cancel a permit without prior notice when an emergency is declared by the department or other proper authority or when the special-use poses an immediate threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the public or natural, geological, or cultural resources of the reserve.

(h) The board or its authorized representative may revoke or cancel any permit with thirty days written notice:

(1) For any infraction of the terms and conditions of the permit;

(2) Upon a finding that the special-use threatens to damage the integrity or condition of the natural, geological, or cultural resources in the reserve;

(3) Upon a finding that the special-use poses a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public or otherwise negatively impacts the general public’s use and enjoyment of the reserve; or

(4) Upon closure of a reserve pursuant to section 13-209-4.5.

(i) The provisions of this section shall not exempt the applicant from complying with any other applicable rule or statute. [Eff 6/29/81; am 1/26/07] (Auth: HRS § 195-5)(Imp: HRS § 195-5)

§ 13-209-5.5 Applications for special-use permits.

(a) All applications for special-use permits shall be submitted in writing to the board or its authorized representative on the form prescribed by the department. The application shall contain the following information:

(1) Name of applicant, and if relevant, affiliation and title;

(2) Contact information, including name of primary contact, mailing address, phone number, and if available, email address;

(3) The period of time for which the permit is requested, not to exceed one year unless seeking a waiver pursuant to section 13-209-5(b);

(4) The reserve(s) involved;

(5) A map illustrating the reserve and the location within the reserve of the proposed special-use;

(6) A description of the proposed special-use;

(7) A discussion of how the proposed special-use satisfies subsections (b)(1) through (b)(6);

(8) An assessment of the potential environmental impact the special-use may have on the reserve or the surrounding area;

(9) Signature of the applicant;

(10) An application fee of $50, however, the board or its authorized representative may waive the application fee if, in their opinion, the waiver is in the public interest or benefits the State; and

(11) Any other information as determined by the department.

(b) In evaluating the merits of an application for a special-use permit, the board or its authorized representative shall apply the following criteria:

(1) The proposed special-use cannot be conducted elsewhere;

(2) The proposed special-use is consistent with the purpose and objectives of the natural area reserve system;

(3) The proposed special-use is consistent with the management plan developed for the reserve;

(4) The proposed special-use provides a benefit (direct or indirect) to the natural area reserve system or to the individual reserve(s) or both;

(5) The proposed special-use will not damage or threaten to damage the integrity or condition of the natural, geological, or cultural resources in the natural area reserve and adjacent area or region;

(6) The proposed special-use complies with provisions and guidelines contained in Chapter 205A, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, entitled “Coastal Zone Management”, where applicable; and

(7) The applicant shall have complied with, or be in compliance with, the conditions of any previously approved permit.

(c) The applicant shall have the burden of demonstrating that the proposed special-use is consistent with the criteria in subsection (b).

(d) The board or its authorized representative may hold a public hearing on an application where determined by the chairperson that the scope of the proposed special-use or the public interest requires a public hearing on the application. Notice of the hearing shall be given not less than twenty days prior to the date set for the hearing. Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be published at least once in a newspaper in the county where the natural area reserve is located.

(e) If within two hundred seventy days after the department’s acceptance of a completed application, the board or its authorized representative shall fail to render a decision thereon, the application for a special-use permit shall be automatically approved with the standard conditions outlined in section 13-209-5(c), provided that the board may revoke this approval pursuant to section 13-209-5(g) and (h). The two-hundred-seventy-day time period provided shall not commence until a completed application is accepted by the department. Physical receipt of an application by the department does not constitute acceptance. The two-hundred-seventy-day time period for decision may be extended for another one hundred eighty days at the request of the applicant to give the board additional time to review and make a decision on the application. [Eff 1/26/07] (Auth: HRS §§ 195-5, 91-13.5) (Imp: HRS §§ 195-5, 91-13.5)

  • Administration: 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-0166; fax (808) 587-0160
  • Kaua‘i Branch Manager: 3060 Eiwa Street, Room 306, Lihue, HI 96766; phone (808) 274-3433; fax (808) 274-3438
  • O‘ahu Branch Manager: 2135 Makiki Heights Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822; phone (808) 973-9778; fax (808) 973-9781
  • Maui Branch Manager (including Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe): 54 South High Street, Room 101, Wailuku, HI 96793; phone (808) 984-8100; fax (808) 984-8111
  • Hawai‘i Branch Manager: 19 East Kawili Street, Hilo, HI 96720; phone (808) 974-4221; fax (808) 974-4226