The packed parking lot and non-stop foot traffic show how popular Diamond Head State park is with visitors.
"Diamond Head is really the symbol of Hawaii. You see it around the world. You know that's Hawaii," San Diego resident Jim Bywater said.
Selling merchandise at the monument is illegal. That doesn't keep visitors like Melanie and Gilbert Velasquez from coveting a keepsake.
"We're tourists from California, so it would be nice to have something saying that we were here," Gilbert Velasquez said.
Soon the 3,000 people who visit Diamond Head daily will have that option. The state will turn a building at the trail head into a kiosk that sells T-shirts and other licensed Diamond Head merchandise
"It's modest, but it's just big enough for a product line of 15 types of products with ancillary storage and a container," said Curt Cottrell, DLNR Parks Division Deputy Administrator.
The three-year pilot project will be a partnership with Pacific Historic Parks, the same outfit that runs merchandise sales at the Arizona Memorial. The store will be manned by workers familiar with Diamond Head's rich history.
"We have that in some of the museums and wildlife preserves in San Diego, to have somebody here to educate the people," visitor Heidi Bywater said.
In the past, DLNR has had problems preventing illegal sales of merchandise by vendors not licensed to sell shirts, flashlights and bottled water at the monument.
"It's really important we eliminate the illicit sale of merchandise that's been chronic in Diamond Head for years and years and years due to enforcement challenges," Cottrell said.
He projects kiosk sales will bring in about $3 million a year. The state would get ten percent of that.
"With the deficits and budget cuts, we've been struggling in operations, and we're looking at new ways for income," Cottrell said.
The lease needs to be finalized, products designed and made, and a web site created.
"If there were something licensed we probably would have purchased it," Velasquez said.
The Diamond Head kiosk could open for business sometime this summer.
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