HONOLULU (KHON2) — The days are numbered for one of Hawaii’s most popular hiking trails.
The Maunawili Falls trail in Windward Oahu will be closed to the public in July as the landowner and State have finally come to an agreement to renovate the trail and trailhead.
“It’s been a free for all, it’s been pretty crazy up here,” said Maunawili resident Darrin Dukes.
HRT Realty has control over the main access point to the trail. HRT had been pressured by the City and County of Honolulu for years to provide parking and restroom facilities, but finally agreed to work with the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).
“HRT Realty fully supports the DLNR initiative to create a long-term management plan to protect the Maunawili Falls area and ensure proper ongoing maintenance of the hiking trail,” says HRT Attorney Delwyn Wong.
Residents were generally excited for the trail to close.
“I’m an avid hiker myself but I feel like there’s a lot of disrespect with the hikers that come into this neighborhood. We’ve got people that use the restroom in the bushes next to people’s houses,” Bostwick said.
The DLNR and landowner declined to give an exact date for the closure, but they are aiming for the work on parking and alternative access to begin in July.
“We look forward to working with the landowner, host community, and many stakeholders who feel strongly about this special place to better manage public use, cultural sites, and the watershed — Mālama i ka ‘āina.” the DLNR said.
Dukes said that he has seen hikers desecrating archaeological sites along the trail.
“The trail itself is being eroded heavily just by so many people coming up nowadays. Every week has become like a holiday weekend,” Dukes said.
Most hikers were understanding of the closure.
“I understand why they’re closing it parking in the neighborhood is kind of tough, especially if there’s some stuff they want to protect just like groom the trail a little bit better back there it’s something that will be welcome for everybody.” hiker Keenan Hart said.
Residents will have to play a role in enforcement of the trail’s closure as well as parking.
“HPD will be responsible since it’s private property those who are trespassing, but at least we will know when they go in not those who go into the property but those who park there are illegally trespassing.” Maunawili’s Honolulu City Council representative Esther Kiaaina said.