HONOLULU (KHON2) — One of Hawaii’s most popular hikes is getting a makeover for the first time in 70 years. The Koko Crater Trail stairs are under repair this month, with the heavy lifting and hiking being done by a volunteer non-profit group named Kokonut Koalition.
The tramway was built in 1942 during World War II. Now, Kokonut Koalition is partnered with the City and County of Honolulu, using $100,000 of $1,100,000 in long-term and immediate repair money toward fixing the worn stairs. The group contracted an engineer, who worked on a similar trail in Colorado, to plan the rebuild.
“We just wanted to repair it. It needed to be done correctly and needed to be done safely, and for everyone to enjoy,” Kokonut Koalition Media Director Lena Haapala said.
The engineer found that the existing rails and concrete are still solid, so the design will be familiar.
“They want to see those tracks, they want to step on these ties. These railroad ties. So that’s what we’re doing just replacing the old ties,” Haapala said.
Work on the trail started this month with a handful of volunteers going up 3-4 times per week from 7:00 am to the early afternoon. The rip up old worn railroad ties, and replace them. They also add gravel in bags or in areas where the ground has been worn.
“I really didn’t know how much work, and labor we were actually going to do, but I gotta say, I’m in the dirt,” Haapala said. “My husband is super proud of me, because I’m a makeup artist.”
They are looking for volunteers, but have had people on the trail assist when hiking up or down.
“We have tons of people that we contact when we’re working, and so they just come up the trail they help bring gravel bags or haul up lumber or anything but we’re probably about 10% of the trail,” Haapala said.
Kokonut Koalition hopes to get past the bridged section of the trail but February, but they don’t have a concrete end date set. That will come under Mayor-Elect Rick Blangiardi’s Administration. The Kokonut Koalition met with him before the election.
“He was supportive in what we were doing,” Haapala said.
Click here to get more information on volunteering.