Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 11:51:39 -1000 From: Mahealani Cypher (firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Heads up for hikers
Today's Star-Bulletin editorial page leads off with the headline: "Hawaii's hiking trails need more protection". It goes on to read...
"The days when all tourists seemed to want to do was lounge on the beach and shop are gone. Sure, millions of Hawaii visitors still want to do those things, with some sight-seeing thrown in. But there are growing numbers of more active people who like to hike and bike. And there are people who are making a business out of serving as tour operators for them.
"Hawaii's hilly terrain and forests are well suited for these activities and they should be encouraged. However, they have grown to the point that the state sees a need for regulation. The Department of Land and Natural Resources has announced that it will accept applications from tour operators to use public trails as part of a one-year pilot project. The state is trying to manage use of the trails and generate funds from fees to maintain them.
"Under the program, pedestrian traffic on six trail systems on Oahu will be limited to two groups of 12 persons per day. Tours will be permitted Monday through Friday, from sunrise to sunset, at a cost of $3 per person. The department says there are 85 public trails statewide, of which 37 are included in the permit program. Permits will be granted provided that trails are not damaged by discarding of trash or picking of protected plants.
"Visitors and residents alike should be encouraged to use island trails, but there are limits to the numbers that can be accommodated. Hanauma Bay is an example of how a resource can be spoiled through overuse. The permit system is a start at dealing with the problem of protecting the trails."
Well, I read that editorial.
The title seems to be pro-hiking. But the body advocates charging money for permits for hikers in for-profit groups. That may be unconstitutional!! Soon, they may start charging ANYONE using the trails. They already was planning to do that for Diamond Head.
I don't mind paying $3 per hike personally, PROVIDED they get access for more trails and clear some of them. But other people may not like that.
I'm sure the article and program were developed with environmental impact issues in mind. However, I, for one, don't support the method for the 37 trails targeted. I go hiking to get away from daily bureaucracy and city-life. Last thing I want is some greedy tour operator or contracted ticket-seller telling me I can't enter a trail without paying a toll. If tourists want to hike, let 'em enjoy Hawaii for free, like the rest of us do. Leave the profiteering to places accessible by asphalt and tour buses.
Honestly, I've never seen that much traffic on trails during weekdays to warrant a reduction in hikers. Perhaps the opposite is true on such trails as in the Manoa, Sacred Falls, and Diamond Head areas.
The way things run today, I think tour operations would bring ruin and litter to trails moreso than the projected funding toward opening and maintenance of additional trails.
But then again, that's my opinion...
My two bits,
Top Ten Replies for When You Are Stopped by the Trail Police and Asked for Your Permit
10. Sorry, I don't have a permit. No I.D. either. Yes, my name is Dayle
Turner. That's D-A-Y-L-E...
9. Sure, buddy, I got yer permit right here...
8. Well, you see, honestly, I couldn't afford the $3. I donated ALL my money to the Re-elect Ben Cayetano campaign...
7. No, sorry, no permit, but I've got my U.S.Coast Guard I.D. with me. Here it is. Yes, that's Silberman, with a B...
6. Ohh, so this is a DLNR trail! Silly me! I thought I was trespassing on Bishop Estate lands!
5. Permit? Sorry, brah, no got. Try ask my cousins, da big guys wit' da guns an' da dogs. Dey be heah bum-by.
4. Permits? We don't need no steenking permits!
3. Oh, man, am I glad to see you, officer! Some drug-crazed hippies just robbed me! Yeah, they went that-away, down by that big pakalolo patch...
2. Run! Giant blood-thirsty pua'a coming!
1. Kiss my fanny-pack!
Perhaps a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, but here's my two-cents worth.
As I understand the current Hawaii State Constitution, it guarantees access to both the ocean and to the mountains. Landowners, such as Bishop Estate, must provide an easement for hikers to go through their lands in order to access traditional trails. For example, the only reason why Hawaii Loa is not off-limits to hikers is because of this law. (BTW, developments that were built before this law came into effect, ca 1978, are exempt-- therefore, the Marriner's Ridge hike is still trespassing)
As I understand it, this is one of the laws they (large landowners) are targeting should we have another Con-Con. If Hawaii's voters decide to have another Con-Con, we may lose one of the strongest means we have to fight for access to our ocean, and our trails.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. I have "a little bit of knowledge" on this matter.
Perhaps MaryAnne can help? :) Question: Can we lose trail access or Na Ala Hele if the Con-Con is amended?