Manoa Falls Trail to undergo major improvements

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Beginning Monday, July 15, the Manoa Falls Trail will undergo periodic closures for construction to improve the upper portion of the trail. This is to ensure public safety as heavy equipment will be operating on potentially unstable terrain. It is anticipated the trail will only be open every other week and on weekends.

This is phase three of a three-part trail improvement program initiated by the DLNR Na Ala Hele Trail and Access program back in 2006.

This final phase has three distinct parts. This includes fixing the staircase that leads to the waterfall viewing area.  Improving the viewing area and widening the last two-tenths of a mile of the trail. This has been identified by the Honolulu Fire Department as a focal point of injury along the trail dating back to 2001.

“It is critical that this section be widened and improved to allow safe two-way foot traffic,” said Aaron Lowe, DLNR Oahu Na Ala Hele Trails & Access Specialist.

Other improvements include trail hardening and run-off management to reduce soil erosion and slippery conditions. While improvements will mostly be done on the upper portion of the trail, lower portions will also get some maintenance and needed improvements.

Currently, the Manoa Falls Trail sees an annual average of 200,000 hikers each year. Over the past two decades, this increase in activity has badly eroded the trail and created uneven footing.

“Manoa Valley is consistently saturated with rain making the trail slippery and unsafe, and potentially providing a negative hiking experience because of muddy, unpleasant and oft times challenging conditions,” said Mike Millay, DLNR Na Ala Hele Trails & Access Program Manager.

Phase one included widening, hardening and developing rest stops along the lower part of the trail. In 2011, phase two of the project continued by pushing improvements further up the trail and by installing a trail head kiosk, front entry gate and trail-side interpretive signs.

This summer’s work will also include volunteer support through partnerships with KUPU Hawaii and the Hawaii State Department of Education.

The Hawaii Tourism funding was provided through its Aloha Aina Program. The money comes from the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT), which people pay when they stay in legal accommodations throughout Hawaii.

While the trail is closed the Na Ala Hele Program recommends using its official website to identify open trails.

For more information regarding commercial tour use and the upcoming closure please contact Aaron Lowe, Oahu Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Specialist at 808-973-9782.

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