Kalaupapa Post Office closing under consideration

The sea cliffs of Kalaupapa isolate the small peninsula, making mail delivery essential for the remaining patients.

The Kalaupapa Post Office is on a list of 3,653 post offices nationwide being considered for closure.

According to U.S. Postal Service spokesman Duke Gonzales, the isolated peninsula on Molokai’s north shore will not be left without any mail delivery service if the post office is closed. “We understand especially in a community like Kalaupapa the necessity of mail and what mail means to them,” said Gonzales.

Right now, mail is flown daily to Kalaupapa after being sorted in Honolulu. About 15 Hansen’s disease patients who still live at the settlement pick up their mail from the one-woman post office; there is no delivery. Mail is also sent to the National Park Service employees who live in Kalaupapa. In total, the post office serves less than 100 people.

Also on the list of possible closures are three Hawaii post offices which serve as satellites of larger offices, including Hanamaulu outside Lihue on Kauai, Nuuanu Avenue in Honolulu and Kamokila Boulevard in Kapolei.
The USPS is looking at alternatives such as privately operated office or a mail-receiving agency for the distribution of mail on a contract basis. Traditional post offices in remote areas may soon become obsolete with the increased use of Internet services including usps.com.

NPS Superintendent for the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Stephen Prokop, said that the post office serves as a lifeline to the community. “There is no Internet access, no cellphone access. Mail is the only way we can communicate.”


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