Along the Trail
Hawaiian Trail & Mountain Club Newsletter
April – June 2013
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By Jay Feldman
The annual meeting of the Hawaiian Trail And Mountain Club will be held April 7th, Sunday, 2PM at the Waimanalo Clubhouse.
Meet with your fellow HTMC members to review the past year’s activities and:
- Discuss and vote on the upstairs kitchen renovation;
- Discuss the acquisition of three acres of preservation land on the big island;
- Elect two directors to the board of directors.
DISCUSS & VOTE – THE UPSTAIRS KITCHEN RENOVATION
The past decade has seen amazing upgrades to our clubhouse: we’ve rebuilt the Hau Arbor; added a second staircase; installed a septic system; completely renovated the downstairs; replaced the roof and upstairs ceiling; implemented a property beautification project; and now the membership will discuss and vote on renovating the upstairs kitchen.
The general scope of the work is to demolish the existing cabinets, counters, and flooring, and to replace them with new, more durable, materials. The sub floor in the kitchen may need to be replaced and the floor joists may need to be leveled.
The design intent is to create an open kitchen plan to promote a more communal feeling and encourage greater use of the kitchen. The partial height wall will be eliminated and replaced with an open counter and a bar height area with seating. The new counter, accessible from both sides, will allow for food to be more easily served from the kitchen (a floorplan was included in last quarter’s newsletter).
Material choices were made based on durability, ease of cleaning, and longevity. The design incorporates solid surface countertops, solid wood cabinets, tile flooring, a new sink, and new energy efficient appliances. New window blinds will help with the problem of afternoon glare.
The final cost estimate for the renovations is approximately sixteen thousand five hundred dollars ($16,500) if we accept an offered free donation of countertop material. This figure is approximately four thousand dollars lower than anticipated thanks to the offer of free labor from a number of skilled and capable club members.
DISCUSS – THE PURCHASE OF THREE ACRES OF PRESERVATION LAND
HTMC maintains a Preservation Fund which over the years has accumulated a large surplus. It has been suggested that the membership purchase three acres of land in the Volcano region of the big island near the Volcanoes National Park. The acreage purchased would be 60% native and receive a Native Forest designation significantly reducing the club’s tax liability. This designation still allows for construction on a quarter acre of the land should the club ever desire to build a cabin. A motion will be made to form an ad hoc committee to investigate a possible purchase.
Here’s what one club member had to say: “This would be a perfect project for the club. It is extremely helpful to the national park and native habitat on nearby state land (Ola’a Kahauale’a) if private property is maintained in a way that provides a buffer that helps conserve native habitat.”
ELECT – TWO BOARD OF DIRECTOR POSITIONS TO BE FILLED
The Nominations Committee presents the following applicants: Bob Robinson and Will Kawano. Bob has offered the following comment on his nomination: “HTMC is a great club and I think it is important to help keep it that way! All the behind the scenes activities needed to keep our hikes going and clubhouse events happening need our support. So, with that in mind, I’ll step up and take a turn to help out.” Nominations will also be taken from the floor from members choosing to run or to propose someone for the two open board positions.
Happy trails to you,
Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club
Have you paid your membership dues for 2013? Check the line above your mailing address on this newsletter. If the expiration is 2012, then your renewal dues have not been received and this will be your last newsletter unless we receive your membership dues. For more information, see http://htmclub.org/membership/renewals.html
GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE By Stephan Haus
At the annual meeting on April 7th, the membership will have the opportunity to vote on funding a Mabel Kekina bronze plaque at The Garden of Remembrance in Lyon Arboretum. Stephen Haus, the designer of the garden, will give a short presentation of the design, which is based on a “Tree of Life” motif cut out of a onyx slab, centered on a fountain, and with a view of Waahila ridge above Manoa. The total contribution for the garden and plaque is $7,000. $3,000 of that cost could come from savings from the clubhouse landscape beautification project, which came under budget from nursery discounts on plants, using rain barrels instead of an irrigation system, and dedicated volunteers that have been watering the new planting until it gets established.
TRIPLE TREAT CHANGE
Due to illness, Jim Yuen will not be able to present the morning “Stuck in the Woods” class at the clubhouse on March 23. The Triple Treat is now a Double Treat, with a Swap Meet and HTMC / Sierra Club Potluck Dinner only.
MORE TRAIL CLOSURES By Steve Poor
The DLNR has now added two more places to the list of closed trails on O’ahu. These are the “climbers trail” to the crag at Mokuleia and the trail to the rock climbing area near Makapu’u lookout.
On June 11, 2012 a person was hit by a falling rock near Camp Erdman at Mokuleia. The camp had a class that was preparing to rock climb, and the person had not yet put on a helmet. The injury resulted in a lawsuit, so the DLNR immediately put up signs saying that he area was closed, and warning persons not to go beyond the sign. The signs also stated that fines would be imposed, ranging from $2,500 for a first violation to $10,000 for a third.
The trail is closed to everyone, not just rock climbers. Hikers are not allowed. Pig hunters are excluded. Native Hawaiians exercising their hunting and gathering rights have a new kapu area. The HTM will no longer be able to do the Nihoa Gulch hike. Four people have now been cited for trespassing at the “jungle” rock climbing area at Mokuleia. The trial date is set for March 7, after this newsletter appears.
There are several bills in the state legislature that we all need to know about: House bill 936, and it’s companion bill in the Senate, SB 1167. These bills relate to limiting the liability that the state government has for Mt. climbing, rock climbing, rappeling, and bouldering on government land. Please contact your state reps and have them support these bills by voting yes.
It’s been seven months since these trails at Mokuleia and Makapu’u were closed. Sacred Falls has been closed since 1999. When will we get to hike there again? Why can’t we legally hike up Ha’iku stairs? What is the problem at Halawa ridge? HTM needs to start a new committee. It would be an access committee that will work to open some of these closed trails. The board of directors failed to act when the rock climbing closures were on the agenda of the 9/19/2012 board meeting. Let’s elect people to the board who will work to open the closed hiking trails.
PUPUKEA PAUMALU UPDATE
By Richard McMahon
(For a description and history of the newly created Pupukea Paumalu State Park Reserve, as well as the story of HTMC’s connecting it to the Kaunala Trail, please see the October 2010 edition of Along the Trail.)
Since HTMC established the connection in September 2010 between the Kaunala Trail and the Pupukea Paumalu State Park Reserve, an increasing number of hikers have taken the opportunity to hike from upper Pupukea near the Boy Scout Camp to Sunset Beach School. The Club has scheduled the hike twice, and the Solemates (Wednesday Group) have done it three times. In each case, due to the number of trails in the area, a different route to the school was possible. Thanks to the efforts of the North Shore Trail Association, a group consisting primarily of mountain bike enthusiasts, more than 30 trails have been identified, marked, and groomed. This does not include numerous shorter ones, which together create a spider-web of inter- connected trails, ideally suited for cyclists, hikers, and equestrians. In addition, NSTA members have built a picnic area at a central location in the reserve, with a picnic table, benches, and landscaping.
Since State Park rules prohibit motorized vehicles anywhere in the reserve, the area is off limits to motor-bike riders. With the seasonal closing by the military of the Kahuku Motor Cross, some motor-bikers began illegally entering the area and riding on the trails. Because repeated use by motorized bikes is known to damage trails (see the upper Kaunala Trail extension, for example), it became necessary to reinforce the Sunset Hills entrance to prevent motor-bike entry. While this has made access difficult (but possible) for hikers and cyclists, it has been effective in keeping motor bikes out.
Unfortunately, an attractive overlook, believed to be part of the reserve, has been found to lie on private property. Club members who participated in any of the above mentioned hikes will recall the bunker complex overlooking Sunset Beach. Consisting of an upper bunker and a smaller lower one, they provide outstanding views over the north shore from Rocky Point to Kaena Point.
An adjacent land owner, apparently believing the bunkers were on his property, ordered a survey which showed that the upper bunker lies within the park reserve, but that the lower bunker is indeed on his land. KEEP OUT signs have now been placed by the State Parks Division, to protect this property from trespass. This has required rerouting the previous trail to avoid intruding on the private parcel, while still providing access to the upper bunker from the mauka side. As a harbinger of what may lie in the future, rolls of metal fencing have been placed near the boundary of the two properties.
STATE AGREES TO SUE HALEAKALA RANCH COMPANY TO CONFIRM TITLE IN HALEAKALA TRAIL
(The following press release was issued by Public Access Trails Hawaii (PATH) on January 16, 2013)
On Wednesday, Judge Cardoza in the Maui Circuit Court approved an agreement between the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources and Public Access Trails Hawai‘i (PATH) and other plaintiffs. In the agreement, DLNR agrees to join PATH and the other plaintiffs and sue Haleakala Ranch Company case to establish the state’s ownership in Haleakala Trail.
David Brown, executive director of Public Access Trails Hawaii, and a plaintiff in the case, called the state agreement “a watershed moment for trails in Hawai‘i”
“We applaud the leadership shown by DLNR’s chief, William Aila in defending the state’s interest in endangered trails, like Haleakala Trail,” announced Brown. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Tom Pierce, responded, “We are very pleased to have the state on our side as we continue prosecuting this case against the Ranch.”
The agreement comes almost exactly two years after PATH and other plaintiffs first sued DLNR and Haleakala Ranch seeking public access to Haleakala Trail. The plaintiffs allege Haleakala Trail is a public trail and that the public still has a right of access. The trail starts in Olinda and goes to Haleakala Crater.
Court approval of the agreement was needed because the case has been given class action status. The plaintiffs represent certified class members, who consist of “all pedestrians who, as members of the public, have been, or continue to be, denied access to Haleakala Trail.” While the agreement means the plaintiffs and the state now share a common interest in pursuing title to Haleakala Trail, it makes clear that the parties still have work to do with respect to what the public’s right of access would be, once title is confirmed.
As a result of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit 2011, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources and the Ranch in 2012 entered into an agreement permitting limited, guided hikes. Hikes have been taking place on usually a monthly basis under the auspices of the state Na Ala Hele trail program. Interested persons must contact the Maui Na Ala Hele office to make reservations (phone: 873-3508).
According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, the trail—parts of which cross land owned by Haleakala Ranch—was first used by Hawaiians, but after the arrival of Captain Cook, was adopted by westerners as the preferred and primary thoroughfare to the Haleakala summit. In post contact times, the trail was used extensively through the 1800s and early 1900s until Haleakala Highway was opened in 1935. There was even a guide service, in operation for 30 years that led thousands of tourists up to the Haleakala summit on horseback.
The plaintiffs’ complaint also identifies a number of historical documents showing the expenditure of government money on Haleakala Trail, including the Kingdom of Hawaii and the Territory of Hawaii. The government efforts culminated in 1904 and 1905 when thousands of dollars were appropriated by the Territory of Hawaii to survey and improve the trail. A 1905 Maui News press release announced, “It will be of general interest to the people of the Islands to learn that the Haleakala trail is now completed to the top of the crater. . . . Come one; come all: and view this the grandest sight of Maui.”
PATH is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Its mission is “building community ties by connecting people and places through trails, urban paths and bikeways.” PATH’s website is pathmaui.org, and the organization also maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts. PATH is requesting financial support from the public to save Haleakala Trail, as well as general supporters and members. Charitable donations may be made to 2525 Kahekili Highway, Wailuku, HI 96793. To contact the organization, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALONG THE TRAIL is a quarterly publication of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club designed to inform the membership of club activities and matters of interest to the hiking community. HTMC members and any other interested parties are welcome to submit articles to ALONG THE TRAIL. Submissions must be received by the 5th day of March, June, September, and December in order to appear in the newsletter published for the following quarter, and may be sent in any of the following ways (email preferred):
Mail: Richard McMahon
57-531 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731
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Hawaiian Trail & Mountain Club
P.O. Box 2238
Honolulu, HI 96804
Clubhouse: 41-023 Puuone St
Waimanalo, HI 96795