OHE August 30, 1999 (pua'a, wires, etc.)

Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 07:50:48 -1000
From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>
Subject: history/ohe

I was talking with John Obata yesterday. He's a veteran plant man and hiker of the Dick Davis generation. John has scaled back a bit now, but I've been to the summit with him at least once this year, so he's still pretty spry. He mentioned a few bits of history that I thought you all might be interested in.

He said that a lot of our current pig-related problems stem from the late 1940s when State Fish and Wildlife brought in large boars with sizable tusks for trophy hunting. Those tusks enable the animals to do more damage in the wild; perhaps the animals are just heavier, too, which could tear up trails. He said that there were always pigs in the mountains, but they didn't cause problems until the new "trophy" stock got into the wild. I'd heard about a distinction between "traditional pigs" and "recent pigs," but I thought that concerned original Polynesian pigs and later European or American introductions. I didn't realize that the problems might have originated as recently as the 1940s.

John also recalled that the Marines used many Oahu trails pretty hard during the Korean War. He said that they would string telephone wire up the trails, which explains some of the wire that we've found in peculiar places. (I think we found some such wire on Castle in Kaluanui Valley this spring.)

Finally, he said that within the last ten years two very speedy hikers, Steve Perlman and Bob Hill (neither of whom I know), hiked from Pupukea along the KST and out Kipapa *in one day*! John went up to meet them on the KST near Poamoho and then went to pick them up at the Kipapa trailhead around 7pm. (At that time, Kipapa was still open.) This seems amazing, but John also said that the KST used to be in much better shape than it is now. While I'm not interested in speed myself, I thought I should pass this historical reference along.


Reply from: Guy Sugahara (schuman@aloha.net>

Hi Brandon,

i believe that that is a true statement, from what i have personnaly seen on Oahu and every neighbor island, except Lanai, I think that the shear numbers of animals is the primary cause for the existing damage observed by many of the hiking community. I know that we have seen a annual shift of the populations of wild pigs from far back in the koolaus to closer to populated areas during the dry summer months, due to the the food sources being depleted further back in the forests. If you speak to residents in the Moanalua Valley, Halawa Heights, Pearlridge Estates, Newtown, Pacific Palisades, etc.. you will hear about pigs coming down from the forests to raid peoples gardens on the outskirts of those communities, these incidents happening mostly during the dry summer months.

as you may have guessed, i am a hunter, and while i do not prefer to hunt pigs...i have encountered them many times in the field.....it is amazing how much damage they can do to an area. on the big island, i have seen almost entire acres of land uprooted on ranch land on the slopes of Mauna Kea....a bobcat could not have done any more damage.......i can only guess what could happen here if the populations are allowed to get that large......

like anything in this world......too much of a thing...is not a good thing....

in any case, i have taken extreme pleasure of the write-ups and disscussions in this listserv, by yourself and all the others. it has also been very informative to me and all the readership. keep up the good work and safe hiking!


guy s.

Reply from: Joseph Omer Bussen (bussen@hawaii.edu>

Those wires were all over the summit trails and approach trails about 20 years ago (I think). Military types called it "com wire", for communications.

Running into the guys training led to lots of amusing situations. One time three of us were hiking on the summit near Poamoho, if I remember right. We ran into a patrol; the Sgt. or Lieut. looked from one to the other of us and shouted, "Who's in charge here?" We could only laugh.

Just 4 or 5 yrs ago we were entering the summit trail from Pupukea to clear it, permit in pocket, when a camoflaged sentry steped out of the woods with his laser guided weapon to challenge us. At least he didn't put the little red spot on our chests. He radioed to his Lieut. to come look at us. The Lieut. looked at our permit and surprisingly, let us proceed.

The big mystery to me, for a while, were those teeny tiny tabaasco bottles that started appearing everywhere. Eventually we figured out that they were from those new-fangled indestructible plastic pouches of MRE's.

Slow Joe

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