On Beaching It / City and beach parks are often the perfect spot for family picnics, parties, showers and birthdays, but believe it or not, there are pages of rules and regulations which many of us don’t pay attention to until we’re faced with a big fat fine. So we’re breaking it down for you:
Most picnic sites can be used on a first-come, first-served basis, except for Ala Moana and Kapiolani beach parks, which require reservations during the summer season (from now until after Labor Day). According to an events coordinator at Ala Moana Regional Park, “People can set up in any open space, as long as you’re not near a numbered picnic area since someone else might have a permit for that space.”
According to city parks regulations, “Family Groups” consist of less than 50 people and no permit is required. That is, unless you’re setting up at parks with recreation centers or Ala Moana and Kapiolani beach parks. Also, any group size using a bounce house needs a permit.
Groups of 50 or more people need to purchase a picnic permit from the Department of Parks and Recreation, and need to have it on hand during the day of the event for presentation to any police or Department representative.
For groups of 100 or more, an application for use of park facilities is required (Form P&R 12) and must be submitted at least three weeks prior to the event date.
Kindling, building or maintaining an open fire of any kind is prohibited, but according to a Department representative, “Barbeque grills are fine.” This is confusing, considering that many park signs say that they prohibit fires, but rest assured, as long as your private grill is at least 12 inches from the ground, and kept away from tall grass and tree trunks, you will not get fined. Keep in mind that charcoal must be deposited in ash disposal receptacles only; otherwise…you got it–big fat ticket.
Give me shelter, give me food
Canopies and tent-like shelters are a must for many of us, however if they’re large enough to need poles and pegs, think permit again. Permittees are allowed to have commercial food caterers and lunch wagons set up under or near tents, but small groups need to keep it contained, and can’t exchange food for money.
So there you have it, picnicking at city parks in a nutshell.
Now’s the time to get revved up for that Fourth of July family reunion.