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Posted on Apr 20, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(Kanaio, Maui) – Over the next three weeks, an estimated 175 abandoned derelict cars and trucks are being removed from unencumbered State land in a remote area of Maui.

This morning, two flatbed tow trucks hauled seven vehicles down the long and winding road, after they’d been towed to the paved highway several miles beyond Ulupalakua Ranch. It’s the same trip the tow operators will make dozens of times until all of the vehicles are removed and transported to a salvage yard.

Daniel Ornellas of the DLNR Land Division organized the “great Kanaio car clean-up” with Maui County, Maui Police, the tow company, and personnel from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). “People have been abandoning vehicles in an area about ¼-mile off the pavement and it’s been happening for 6-7 years. We received multiple complaints from surrounding landowners. It’s going to take the better part of three weeks to get all the wrecks out of there.”

Seven workers from the DOFAW Maui Branch began towing cars and trucks, one at a time, up a steep dirt road on Monday. They managed to “stockpile” 25 of them in an empty area next to the highway to stage them for the tow trucks. They’re using a front-end loader to both crush the cars and to load them onto the flatbeds.

Shane De Mattos, a DOFAW wildlife biologist said that eventually the land covered in broken and inoperable cars and trucks is slated to be transferred from the DLNR Land Division to DOFAW. “We wanted to get it cleaned up as we begin to consider how to restore it for conservation purposes, which could include public hunting. Those decisions are down the road, but it’s good to see these eyesores removed to improve conditions for plants, wildlife, and the environment overall.”

The removal project is expected to cost upwards of $300,000 and Maui County and the DLNR are taking steps to put in barriers to prevent more cars from ending up in the existing heap of twisted, rusting metal, plastic, and rubber. De Mattos added, “Going forward if anyone abandons a vehicle here, we will take steps to identify the owners and hold them accountable.

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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)

HD video – Great Kanaio Car Clean-up (April 20, 2022):

(shot sheet attached)

Photographs – Great Kanaio Car Clean-up (April 20, 2022):


Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

[email protected]

(808) 587-0396