DLNR Reminds Public Of Sacred Falls Park Closure, Acknowledges 15-Year Anniversary Of Tragedy

Due to a recent rise in citations for unauthorized entry into Sacred Falls State Park, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announces and underscores that the park remains closed to the public due to danger from falling rocks.

Sacred Falls

Signs at entrance to Sacred Falls

Mother’s Day marks the 15-year anniversary of tragedy at Sacred Falls State Park, where a massive rockslide on May 9, 1999, killed 8 and injured around 50 people. Following that incident, DLNR closed the park, locked the entrance, and posted and maintained numerous signs indicating the park’s closure and hazardous conditions.

To address public safety concerns raised by this event, the state Legislature established a statewide warning signage system, through Act 82 SLH 2003, to protect the state and county governments from liability on certain parks and trails.

“So many of us remember the loss, pain, and suffering that ensued at Sacred Falls 15 years ago,” said Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. “Yet, people continue to illegally hike in the park, ignoring DLNR’s clear signage and exposing themselves to possible injury or death, and criminal citation.”

From March to April 2014, the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) issued about 30 citations for prohibited entry into Sacred Falls State Park, many of which involved out-of-state residents or U.S. military personnel.

One incident in March 2014 necessitated search and rescue efforts by DOCARE and the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD). During the past two years, DOCARE and HFD have conducted four search and rescue operations in Sacred Falls State Park, some of which involved bodily injury.

“DOCARE takes prohibited entry violations seriously and will continue to monitor Sacred Falls State Park, issue citations, and protect public health and safety when necessary,” said DOCARE Enforcement Chief Randy Awo. “But the reality is that these illegal entries divert time and attention from natural resource protection.”

Sacred Falls Sign

Entry into Sacred Falls State Park, and any other closed state park, is a petty misdemeanor crime, punishable in court with fines of a minimum $100 for a first offense; $200 for a second offense; and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Moreover, The Board of Land and Natural Resources may also pursue civil administrative penalties of up to $2,500 for a first violation; $5,000 for a second violation; and $10,000 for a third or subsequent violation.

“We encourage people to enjoy the many other state parks and trails that are open and accessible to the public, such as the trails managed by the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife under the Nā Ala Hele Trail Access system,” said Dan Quinn, administrator for the DLNR Division of State Parks.

For more information about the Hawai‘i State Park system, visit http://hawaiistateparks.org/ and http://hawaiitrails.org.

To report an incident, call 643-DLNR.

23-Year-Old Man Dies After Trying to Climb Down Cliff on the Big Island

A 23-year-old man fell 80 feet to his death in Pepeekeo today while trying to climb down a cliff to reach a beach.  Here is the Hawaii Fire Department release on the incident:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Hike, Explore, & Protect Kahuku

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Kahuku Unit by offering free programs to introduce visitors and residents to the park’s southernmost section, October through December 2013.

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

For all activities below, enter Kahuku on the mauka (uphill) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection, and a snack are recommended. No advance registration is required, except for the Ka‘ū ‘Ohana Day, where registration is required.

People and Lands of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered Oct. 13, Nov. 17, and Dec. 29; from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6 mile loop traversing scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered Oct. 20, Nov. 24, and Dec. 8; from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ōhia Lehua. There is more to the ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree than meets the eye.  Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the lehua flower. Visitors traveling through the park will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent tree in the Kahuku Unit.  Pack a lunch to enjoy during the program. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered Oct. 27, Nov. 10, and Dec. 15; from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Ka‘ū ‘Ohana Day. Keiki of all ages are invited to join park rangers and explore the park’s southernmost section, Kahuku. At least one adult family member or adult must accompany the children. Enjoy a free lunch, and participate in cultural craft demonstrations. Bring a refillable water bottle, sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy hiking shoes. The event is free, but registration is required, call (808) 985-6019. Offered Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visiting Hikers Find Man Lost on Mauna Loa

Units from Puainako Training Area (PTA) Fire Department and Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) responded to the Mauna Loa Access Road for a report of a lost hiker.

Mauna Loa Access Road

Mauna Loa Access Road

Upon arrival, fire units contacted visiting hikers who reported trying to assist a 62 year-old Honolulu man who had become lost trying to make his way down the Mauna Loa trail.

Units from PTA Fire  located the lost party approximately 2 miles from the weather station. The hiker was treated for cold weather exposure, hypothermia, dehydration at the scene and transported to Hilo Medical Center via HFD Medic Unit.

Canadian Man Dies While Hiking Across Lava Field

A Canadian man who died Tuesday afternoon (May 7) while hiking across a lava field has been identified as 57-year-old Riccardo Scagliati of Victoria, British Columbia.

Recent Lava Flow

Recent Lava Flow

Scagliati and a companion set out from the Kalapana viewing area Tuesday morning. On their return trip they got lost. Scagliati became disoriented and overheated and fell to the ground. His 57-year-old male hiking companion went for help and more water but then was unable to find his way back to Scagliati’s location.

Fire Department personnel later found his lifeless body with the help of a helicopter.

Second Annual New Year’s Sunrise Hike and Oli at Makapuu

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) invites the public to the second annual New Year’s Day hike on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2013, along the scenic Makapuu lighthouse trail at the Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline, located in East Oahu.

The Makapuu trail is an old and paved lighthouse management road that leads to the summit of Makapuu ridge. On this day only, Division of State Parks staff will open the gate along Kalanianaole highway for vehicle parking in the trail parking lot at 5:30 a.m. (parking is first-come, first-served).

Photo by Kelvin Lu

Photo by Kelvin Lu

Last year the parking lot was full by 5:45 a.m., with the balance of cars parking along the highway. Approximately 500 people attended last year’s event and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise. Curt Cottrell, assistant State Parks administrator, will once again go to bed early on New Year’s Eve in order to open the gate early for parking and then be at the top to also see the sunrise. Everyone is invited to gather at the trail’s end and along the side on Makapuu ridge to watch the sun rise at 7:09 a.m. As the sun comes up on the horizon between sea and sky, like last year a chanter will offer a traditional Hawaiian oli to greet the first sunrise of the 2013.

The morning hike is just one of about 550 “First Day” hikes being observed in all U.S. states, an initiative of the America’s State Parks organization to promote healthy lifestyles and encourage year-round recreation at state parks. For more information go to www.americasstateparks.org.

Due to the lack of comfort stations at this location, Division of State Parks is providing a modest amount of portable toilets for the event. The 1.5-mile round trip on the access road is considered of moderate difficulty and suited for children of any age (strollers are welcome). Pets must remain on leash at all times and any droppings removed by owner and properly disposed of. Bring windbreakers, supportive shoes, warm beverages and cameras! Pack out all of your rubbish.

For more information about the First Day – Makapuu Lighthouse Trail hike, call the Division of State Parks at 587-0300.


Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Introduces Two New Programs

Two adventurous programs offered by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will introduce a captivating landscape, biodiversity and history of the park’s southernmost section to intrepid hikers.

People and land of Kahuku, Photo by NPS

People and Land of Kahuku is a two-mile, three-hour expedition through pastures, a quarry, an airstrip and the 1868 lava fields of Kahuku. Rangers will explain how people lived on the vast Kahuku lands, from the earliest Hawaiians through today. Walk in emerging native forest, hear about Kahuku’s history of violent earthquakes and eruptions and the residents who survived them, and find out how Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park plans to restore the native ecosystem and protect Kahuku’s cultural sites.

The hike is offered May 19, June 3, July 15, and Aug. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Meet near the Kahuku gate, which is located off Highway 11 between mile markers 70 and 71 on the mauka side of the highway. Park and meet inside the gate near the ranch buildings. Boots, raingear and long pants are recommended. No advance registration is required.

Kīpuka‘akihi is a challenging 1.5 mile, five-hour adventure to see some of the rare plants and wildlife that inhabit this treasured kīpuka. Participants must be prepared to scramble over fallen trees, lava rock, and slippery, wet terrain. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, long pants, sunscreen and a hat. Bring raingear, garden gloves, a day pack, insect repellent, lunch and water. This forest stewardship program provides opportunities to help protect this rainforest by pulling up invasive kāhili ginger and other invasive non-native plants throughout the kīpuka. Due to the fragile nature of the region, the program is limited to 15 people and pre-registration is required. To sign up, call (808) 985-6011.

This expedition into Kahuku’s isolated refuge of rare plants is offered May 26, June 17, July 28 and Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet near the Kahuku gate, which is located off Highway 11 between mile markers 70 and 71 on the mauka side of the highway. Park and meet inside the gate near the ranch buildings.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Opening New Hiking Trail

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is opening a new hiking trail in the Park’s Kahuku Unit on Sat. Oct. 8, 2011 with a celebration at the trailhead at 10:00AM followed by a ranger guided hike with Ranger John Stallman. A second ranger guided hike will lead by Ranger Dean Gallagher at 11:00AM.

The Palm trail is a 2.6 mile loop traversing through scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Along the way are relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures.

The Kahuku Unit is open weekends from 9:00AM – 3:00 PM except the first Saturday of each month. The entrance is on the mauka (upslope) side of Highway 11 between mile markers 70 and 71. The Palm trailhead is two miles up the unpaved main road.

Kahuku can be hot and dry or cool and rainy. Bring sunscreen, rain gear, good walking shoes for the moderate hike, water and snacks. Please leave your animals at home for this event. Pets are not allowed above the airstrip and may not be left inside vehicles. Palm trail head can be reached by 2 wheel drive vehicles; however, 4 wheel drive is recommended for the road beyond the trail head.

Hawaii Forest & Trail Honored as 2010 Rotary Club of Kona Business of the Year

Media Release:

Hawaii Forest & Trail was honored as the Rotary Club of Kona 2010 Business of the Year at their recent monthly membership meeting and luncheon.

Cindy and Rob Pacheco Accept the 2010 Rotary Club of Kona Business of the Year Award

The Rotary Club of Kona has been honoring local businesses in the West Hawaii community with quarterly awards for several years. The Business of The Year award recognizes recipients for their outstanding commitment to the community. This year, the service club decided to move from quarterly awards to honoring one business that aligned with its own dedication to community service as a source for hard work and a better life in the community.

This was the ride that took us out to Waipio Valley

The 2010 Business of the Year Award honored Hawaii Forest & Trail for its commitment to environmental education, creating a healthy workplace and for e hoomaluo (conserve our natural resources), a program within the company designed to support and inspire the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources through corporate giving, stewardship and sustainable business practices.

Travel Writer John Fischer (About.Com) and Deston Nokes (www.destonnokes.com) hike Waipio Valley while Becky Ryan from Irondog Communications (www.irondogpr.com) follows up the pack

“This is an exciting time for Hawaii Forest & Trail. We inspire guests everyday on our guided nature tours. Through this inspiration, we turn guests into stakeholders in Hawaii and Hawaii Forest & Trail,”said Hawaii Forest & Trail President and Founder Rob Pacheco. “As we inspire others to conserve Hawaii’s rich natural and cultural resources, a deeper experience emerges for our visitors and community.”

Our guide Rob Pacheco tells us about Waipio Valley and the history of the valley

Hawaii Forest & Trail has received several awards including 2009 Rand McNally Best of the Road Editor’s pick, Hot Blue 100 List, and was a recent recipient of the Ecotour Operator of the Year Award by the Hawaii Ecotourism Association.

I take in one of the many waterfalls along the Waipio Rim hike

About Hawaii Forest & Trail

Hawaii Forest & Trail was founded and is operated by Rob and Cindy Pacheco, who share their passion and knowledge of Hawaii’s natural beauty with visitors from all over the world. Hawaii Forest & Trail’s vision is to inspire the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources. Most recently, Hawaii Forest & Trail Hawaii launched their new company-wide conservation initiative entitled e hoomaluo (conserve our natural resources). The program mission is to support and inspire the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources through corporate giving, stewardship and sustainable business practices.