Trail Advisory Council- Na Ala Hele Report from Recent Meeting

I thought you guys would like to know a little bit about the Trail Advisory Council- we meet every other month (just met Tuesday 2/17) to let Aaron, the Na Ala Hele Trail Technician (the main guy up there) bounce ideas off of us regarding current and future handling of NAH trails. There are reps from motorsport, equestrian activities, hunting, biking, hiking, trail running (of course), Nature Center programming, and now we will soon add Roddy Akau as our cultural practitioner. It is a congenial group. Anyone is invited as a guest to attend and observe the meetings.

We start off with Aaron’s staff report. NAH is working on adding a couple new trails to the inventory. The first, “Honouliuli”, is on the Waianae Mountain Range near Makakilo. The second, in Moanalua Valley, at the top of the hill, “Kulana’ahane Trail” and “Kamana Nui Valley Road”.

Aaron indicated that all the NAH trails are scheduled to be “brushed” 4 times a year. Maunawili, now getting overgrown, should be cleared within the next month. I assume the same for Dillingham (Cheryl recently told me it is getting hairy up there now too).

Aaron will be looking into the problem of the recent dirt bike/ ATV usage at the Ditch Trail in Waimanalo- we noticed last week that there were very deep ruts about half way down the trail, and our equestrian rep said the horses can’t even get by it. Worse, the guys on the bikes (motorcycles) were very threatening to the horseback riders! You might want to avoid this area for a while, especially late afternoons.

Aaron reports that after the opening of Puomoho Trail, near Wahiawa, there were 4000 visits (permitted) to that trail last year- amazing! 

Each of the reps report on their various groups. Our pig hunter’s report is always interesting- we learn about the locations where the pigs were caught, and the numbers- it is always surprising. (If anyone wants a more detailed report of the other reps, please see me).

I brought them up to date on our activities. BTW, I would appreciate hearing any information about the trails you cover in training, if there are any downed trees, bad slides, or any other dangerous conditions. We can report these to Aaron, and usually Fred from NAH can get out there with a crew to work on the problem. Aaron knows we usually see a lot of the trails, and depends on our input. As you may know, Harald and MikeM brought the Kalawahine/Manoa Cliff intersection problem to Aaron’s attention, the week before the race. Fred and crew went right out there to place the steps at that corner, making the trail safe for our race. Mike and Harald were out there too, cutting drainage troughs nearby.

I told Aaron and the council that HURT runners had offered to help out with NAH projects on occasion. We just need sufficient notice, and hope it would avoid late Summer and Fall when the gang is heavy into HURT training (although I know some of us are available during those months). Trail maintenance can be fun, (ask Bozo!) and we can learn a lot from the NAH pros. It would be a good group project sometime. By the way, we are not permitted to go out on our own, without Aaron’s approval. He needs to evaluate any projects in which we might take interest, and decide whether or not we need to be assisted by one of his guys.

You might be interested in seeing the official opening of the trail at the back of Moanalua Valley- it will take place June 6, on National trails Day, at the trailhead. It is really worthwhile to explore this trail- if you get a chance, go take a look. Visit this web site for information on this historical trail! https://www.mgf-hawaii.org/HTML/School/hikes.htm

Finally, we learned that Curt Cottrell has just left NAH, to become the new Assistant Administrator at State Parks. We wish him well in his endeavors. He indicates in a recent email:

“Please look at the website below to learn more about the DLNR recreational renaissance hope that you would agree that the time has come for this innovative approach to funding recreational infrastructure for DOFAW, SP and DOBOR.

We have 5 divisions working together , the above plus engineering and Land – to make this happen.”
Check out the sites on this page – very interesting!  www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/recreate.”

PJ Salmonson