Popular East Oahu trail severely restricted, limited access to Mariner's Ridge

Published On: Dec 06 2013 10:30:28 PM HST   Updated On: Dec 07 2013 08:09:03 AM HST

One of Oahu's most popular trails is now essentially closed. Kamehameha Schools announced on Friday, Kaluanui Trail, commonly known as Mariner's Ridge, is now off limits to most people. 

"We walk here all the time. I saw this (fence) was up yesterday and I was like 'what?!'" said Sandra Hung.

Hers was the typical reaction among those visiting the trail head at Mariner's Ridge in Hawaii Kai.

The sloping dirt opening is now blocked by a row of black iron rods.

"I just came up and saw the fence and was kind of bummed," said Shawn Starr, who leaves nearby.

In April 2013, Kamehameha Schools put up no trespassing signs at Kaluanui Trail, or Mariner's Ridge, saying violators will be prosecuted.

But neighbors said few have been deterred.

"I've taken my family up here all the time," said nearby resident and former Mayor Peter Carlisle.

He said he's seen visitors picnicking on lawns, urinating, throwing trash, lighting fires and hiking at all hours of the night.

"The level of behavior of some of the people that go up the trail is not acceptable under any circumstances," he said.

Landowner Kamehameha Schools erected the fence on Thursday.

They said all that foot traffic has not only affected homeowners, but eroded the trail, threatened native plants and created a dangerous situation.

"Especially during rainy season, it gets slippery and muddy up there, and the trail gets worn, and because of all the traffic, it makes it even worse," said resident John Lee.

Residents say the very day the fence went up, they saw people trying to pull it down.

Crews were back the next day, re-cementing posts.

"One of them decided to climb up the fence, the other went around," said Sandy Lee, as she watched hiker's disregard the iron fence.

"Still, this is such a beautiful trail and we all enjoy it so there's got to be some other way maybe," said Hung.

Right now, Kamehameha Schools is only allowing two hiking clubs access to the trail: The Sierra Club and the Hawaiian Trail & Mountain Club.

The Sierra Club told KITV it's planning group hikes about once every three months.

A spokesperson for Kamehameha Schools said the organization may consider allowing access for other groups, but only on a case-by-case basis.



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