The long road to scenic designation

An East Oahu road on the way to state recognition

 UPDATED 6:44 AM HST Oct 08, 2013
HONOLULU -

A nearly seven-mile stretch of Kalanianaole Highway, from Maunalua Bay to Makapuu, was nominated months ago to become a designated State Scenic Byway.
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The scenic coast of East Oahu brings out visitors and residents alike.

Many take a drive on the winding road to see Hawaii's natural beauty.

"This is the most beautiful drive around the entire island. This is my absolute favorite," said Honolulu resident Amy Schwab.

For much of this year, work has been underway to designate the road a state scenic byway. Now that proposal is inching closer to reality.

"Within six months I would think we'd be fully designated, but I hope it could be much sooner," said Greg Knudsen, with the Ka Iwi Coalition.

Haunama Bay, Sandy Beach and historic and cultural sites along the Ka Iwi Coast are just some of the stops drivers can take along the road, which is surrounded by mostly preservation and conservation land.

Many residents and various members of East Oahu organizations have joined the effort to keep the land in its current, natural state -- which is part of the requirements of state recognition.

"It is a popular idea to recognize the stretch of the Ka Iwi coast as a scenic byway," said Knudsen.

There is no denying the scenic beauty of the area, but Knudsen said there is much more work ahead. Not only getting the designation but keeping it. Members of the group will spend the next year developing a corridor management plan - another requirements by the state.

"If we say we got designated and we can forget about that -- they can take their designation back. So we have to stay committed," added Knudsen.

Many Hawaii Kai residents love having the spectacular scenery right next door. They also want to make sure future generations will be able to take in the same scenic sights.

"If we don't do it something else will happen that we might regret. In the end, we might have something we are proud of for this area," said Hawaii Kai resident Chuck Lileikis.

The state designation would help preserve the scenic road. Knudsen said it could also help preserve the current view drivers have of surrounding lands, which may limit any future development.

The Maunalua-Makapuu Scenic Byway is just one of four roads being considered as a Hawaii scenic byway.

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