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Concerns rise for Maunawili Falls Trail and Kawainui MarshUPDATED 11:51 PM HST Jul 15, 2014Video Transcript
Thousands of hikers take to the trails everyday here in the islands-- taking in the views Hawaii has to offer. But often times, access to these trails are in residential neighborhoods, forcing those people to deal with the aftermath. KITV4's Andrew Pereira shows us why some Maunawili residents are concerned about plans to expand access to Kawainui Marsh. Packs of tourists head toward a must-see destination. It's not Diamond Head State Park in Waikiki, but Maunawili Falls Trail in Kailua. CHRIS NAKAMATSU: "ESPECIALLY IN THE LAST SIX, SEVEN YEARS WE'VE JUST SEEN THIS ESCALATION OF PEOPLE COMING TO THE TRAIL." CLAIRE GANIKO: "THE PEACE, THE QUIET AND THE TRANQUILITY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS GONE. THAT'S WHAT I'VE SEEN." Residents who live near the trail have documented tour buses, as many as 11 people per minute and mounds of trash -- mostly shoes and clothes worn on the muddy path. CHRIS NAKAMATSU: "ONE NEIGHBOR PICKED UP 27 POUNDS OF TRASH ONE DAY." Some Maunawili residents even paid for two security cameras to deter trespassers and vehicle break-ins. SUZI DOMINY: "THEY PUT THE TRAIL IN PLACE, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO MANAGE IT." The state's Na Ala Hele Trail and Access program oversees 122 trails across the state. Na Ala Hele splits a budget of $1.2 million with DLNR's Division of Forestry and Wildlife. However 50 to 60 percent of the budget goes toward salaries. That leaves only a few thousand dollars for the maintenance and upkeep of each trail like Maunawili Falls. CLAIRE GANIKO: "IF THE TRAIL WERE MANAGED, THEN WE WOULDN'T HAVE THIS OVERFLOW. I REALLY BELIEVE THAT IT'S HIT ITS CAPACITY." SUZI DOMINY: "I DON'T THINK IT'S A CASE OF LACK OF WILL, I JUST THINK THEY DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES." ANDREW PEREIRA: "NOW MAUNAWILI RESIDENTS ARE CONCERNED THAT THE SAME ISSUES AFFECTING THIS TRAIL COULD ALSO IMPACT KAWAINUI MARSH IF DLNR MOVES FORWARD ON PLANS FOR EXPANDED PARKING LOTS, FOOT TRAILS AND A BOARDWALK." CHRIS NAKAMATSU: "THE SAME PEOPLE ARE GOING TO MANAGE THE MARSH AS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING THIS TRAIL. AND THIS TRAIL IS JUST A SMALL MICROCOSM OF WHAT THE MARSH IS IN FOR." DLNR insists Kawainui Marsh will be different since it's conservation wetland, not a recreational trail. DAVE SMITH: "SOME PEOPLE ARE SAYING WE'RE TRYING TO TURN IT INTO THE POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER OR DISNEYLAND AND THAT'S JUST RIDICULOUS." The Kawainui-Hamakua Complex Master Plan must still undergo an environmental review before it can be approved by DLNR.