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Multiple rescues at popular hike raises safety concerns

HONOLULU (KHON2) - It's become one of the most popular hikes on Oahu.

"We're seeing a huge influx of more people hiking Koko Head Crater trail and most of them are visitors," said Drew Murphy, president of the Kokonut Koalition.

He says the hike has become a "must-do" activity on Oahu because of the internet. 

Many say the increased traffic is putting a strain on the over 70-year-old trail.

"In the past three-and-a-half years I've definitely seen an increase [of people on the trail], and the trail shows major wear and tear," says Ashley Goode, a frequent Koko Head Crater hiker.

"Just going back looking through old pictures and looking at certain spots, you can see a difference because of all the use," she said. 

The amount of rescues is also rising. 

According to Honolulu Fire Department, fire crews were called to Koko Head Trail 12 times in 2017. That number doubled in 2018 to 29. 

Since Jan. 1, 2019, there have been four calls and responses. 

"In the past five years we've seen it [the trail] deteriorate significantly and the deterioration is accelerating," Murphy said. 

The Kokonut Koalition has been trying to fix the highly used trail and is looking to partner with the City and County of Honolulu. 

"It's considered an unsanctioned trail and there are signs at the bottom of the trail that say just that— you're hiking at your own risk," Murphy said. 
     
He says his group is already in talks with the city. 

"They are interested in rehabilitating and helping to make it safer," Murphy said.

"They are looking to the Koknut Koalition to lead the way on this and we're happy to," he said. 

The city says the site does not undergo regular maintenance and there are signs indicating caution.

We'll keep you posted if a partnership happens.


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