Manoa trail getting an extreme makeover

Published On: Aug 27 2012 08:53:28 AM HST   Updated On: Aug 27 2012 08:59:42 AM HST

Lush rainforest and exotic terrain with the highlight a 150-foot waterfall is what brings 300 to 400 hikers a day to Manoa Falls Trail.   On a holiday, more than 800 people can hit the trail.

"I think this is a very easy hike and it’s very comfortable," said Beverly Chao, a visitor from California who was hiking the Manoa Falls Trail for the first time.

"The trees, the 'Tarzan'-style (foliage), I really like that," said Sacramento, Calif. visitor Vyckie Lee.

But the trails popularity also puts heavy wear-and-tear on the 0.8-mile of sometimes muddy and slick terrain.  That's why the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources Na Ala Hele Trails and Access program is focusing on improving the popular hike.

"We want people to look around and enjoy nature, the trees, and what it has to offer, rather than having to look at every step they have to take," said Chelsea Arnott, outreach assistant for Na Ala Hele on Oahu.

With nearly $150,000 in grant money from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, there will be a new trail entry and informational kiosk, safer viewing area, plus rock steps, re-graveling and water diversion.

"Having this chunk of money kind of takes it way further than we’d ever think we’d be able to do," said Arnott.

Volunteers from the Sierra Club are also making the renovations possible -- the labor of love includes repairing the erosion along the trail.

"That has become a safety issue.  It’s hard for people to get up to the steps and to climb up over rocks," said Janice Marsters, project coordinator for the Sierra Club.

Work on the trail will continue throughout the month of September.  The enhancements will not only renovate a valuable visitor attraction, but also improves an historic trail and protects Manoa Stream.


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