OHE August 10, 1998 (b)

Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 14:02:56 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>

The following letter was written a few years ago after Wade Johnson disappeared and a fire department helicopter pilot and two police officers were killed searching for him.


Don't blame the recent deaths of the two fine police officers, the fire department helicopter pilot and the lost hiker above Sacred Falls on stupid hikers. The blame lies with the lawyers and judges that accept frivolous law suits; and land owners that try to protect themselves from them.

Millions of dollars of tax payers money was spent constructing trails and cabins in the mountains of Oahu in the 1930's for the future enjoyment of the general public.

Enter the lawyers, military land leases and paper shufflers.

Now, practically all of these trails on private land are KAPU. The cabins are gone; the trail signs removed, and due to lack of maintenance the trails have become so overgrown with exotic brush they cannot be followed except by old timers who know where they go.

When the military leased most of the land in the western Koolau mountains for practically nothing they promised the trails would be kept open for public use on weekends and holidays except during special maneuvers. Instead, they put up KAPU signs and enforced them. The troops don't even walk these trails, but ride from area to area.

On our island, our State Department of Land and Natural Resources still have paper shufflers but not even one trail worker to maintain the 65 miles of trails open to the public. How can our government expect volunteers to build new trails and maintain all the trails on the island?

Recently, two healthy young men studied U.S. government maps and decided to hike up the Laie Trail, along the Koolau Summit Trail and down Castle Trail. They pushed through dense brush all the way, missed the obliterated junction and found themselves heading for the Poamoho Trail. One waited for help, the other went back and found his way down the ridge where Castle Trail is shown on the maps. He missed seeing where the trail left the ridge. His footprints were last seen at the base of the first waterfall below the trail stream crossing. There are about nine waterfalls below that spot above Sacred Falls including one about 400 feet high. Part way down a good climber can make his way back up to the Castle Trail. I have done it many times. A well trained team could possibly find this lost soul and return him to his family. At age 75 it would be too hazardous for me to attempt.

Dick Davis

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