Permit Guidelines

These are general guidelines for research, collection, and access permits on lands under the jurisdiction of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).

These guidelines are intended to help prospective researchers and members of the general public obtain the necessary permit(s) for DOFAW regulated activities. Note that more than one permit may be required depending on the type of activity in question. It is the individual’s sole responsibility to ensure that all applicable permits are held prior to commencement of regulated activities.

All permit applications received by DOFAW may be reviewed at multiple levels. These include review by staff from DOFAW Administration office, by staff from DOFAW Branch/Island office, by peer reviewers, and in some cases, by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Studies/research with direct management or conservation components are favored on DOFAW managed lands.

  • Activities involving native wildlife, introduced wild birds and game animals (Wildlife Permit Guidelines). Contact: Jason Omick.
  • Activities involving native invertebrates. Contact: Cynthia King.

In addition to DOFAW permits, permits from other divisions within the Department of Land and Natural Resources or from outside agencies may be required. It is the individual’s sole responsibility to ensure that all applicable permits are held prior to commencement of regulated activities. The following are examples of additional permits that may be needed:

  • Activities involving fresh water or marine species; contact Division of Aquatic Resources:  1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 330, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813; phone (808) 587-0100; fax (808) 587-0115.
  • Research/activities involving State Parks; contact Division of State Parks:  1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 310, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813; phone (808) 587-0300; fax (808) 587-0311.
  • Research/activities involving unencumbered state lands; contact Land Division:  1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 220, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813; phone (808) 587-0446; fax (808) 587-0455.
  • Research/activities involving historical sites; contact Historic Preservation Division:  Kakuhihewa Building, 601 Kamokila Boulevard, Suite 555, Kapolei, Hawai‘i 96706; phone (808) 692-8015; fax (808) 692-8020.
  • Actions effecting any endangered, threatened, candidate or proposed species (bird, animal, or plant; terrestrial or marine); contact the Conservation Initiatives Coordinator (please call DOFAW Admin office at (808) 587-0166).
  • Activities involving Mauna Kea Ice Age NAR typically also require a permit from the Office of Mauna Kea Management: 640 N. Aohoku Place, Rm. 203, Hilo, HI 96720; phone (808) 933-0734; fax (808) 933-3208.

    Permits are required from OMKM for groups exceeding 10 people; groups wishing to film on Maunakea for the purpose of sale, video production, television transmission, or to publicize the visuals and other information in electronic or printing form; operation of a commercial tour; research; military groups. Application details for activities involving research. Application details for all other activities.

Requests for permits should be submitted at minimum, 90 days prior to the expected start of field work, to allow sufficient time for review and processing. Incomplete applications (including applications without maps when requested) may necessitate additional processing time. All permits must have original signatures and should be submitted to the appropriate DOFAW office via U.S. mail or be hand delivered before they are considered valid.

Field work in Hawai‘i can be hazardous and must be approached accordingly. For permits with field components, the permit holders must check-in with the appropriate DOFAW Branch office prior to the initiation of field work. Access to DOFAW managed lands may be denied or rescheduled for any reason, including changes in field conditions such as hurricanes, fires, and the like. This is a safety issue and the primary reason why contact with the DOFAW District/ Island office must be made prior to beginning fieldwork.

A copy of the signed permit must be carried with the permit holder(s) at all times while in the field.

For studies involving federally protected species, such as migratory birds and Threatened and Endangered species, Federal permits must be obtained prior to initiation of fieldwork. It should be noted that State permits are not valid for species protected by federal law unless the appropriate federal permits are held. It is the responsibility of the permit applicant to determine what federal permits and approvals are required for their proposed activity prior to the commencement of such activity.

Commercial activities ranging from guided hikes and tours, to photography may require additional permits. Additional permit information may be requested from DOFAW staff. Contact appropriate staff for permit application forms.

Division of Forestry and Wildlife Branches/Island Offices:

1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813
Phone: (808) 587-0166; fax: (808) 587-0160

Kaua‘i Branch:
3060 Eiwa Street, Room 306, Lihue, Hawai‘i 96766
Phone: (808) 274-3433; fax: (808) 274-3438

O‘ahu Branch:
2135 Makiki Heights Drive, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822
Phone: (808) 973-9778; fax: (808) 973-9781

Email: [email protected]

Maui Branch (includes Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe):
685 Haleakala Hwy, Kahului, HI 96732
Phone: (808) 984-8100; fax: (808) 984-8111

Hawai‘i Branch:
19 East Kawili Street, Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720
Phone: (808) 974-4221; fax (808) 974-4226