Hiking in Hawaii is a privilege in many areas. With many hiking trails starting on private property, hikers have had the leeway of trespassing to enjoy the beauty of Hawaii without the owners taking action. Unfortunately, in recent months, a large number of trails have been vandalized by taggers and been covered in litter!
The most noteable hike is Stairway to Heaven. An illegal hike, hikers trespass to get to the trailhead to the bottom of the stairs. At the top you will find a ton of garbage in side of the bunkers and along the stairs in the grass. How hard is it to take the trash that you bring up back down with you? The buildings up there are also covered in graffiti and stickers.
In more recent months, one of my favorite trails, Kamehame Ridge has been vandalized by taggers and hikers. People have felt the need to write in sharpie on the fences to follow someone on instagram. As a higher volume of people visit this trail, the number of trash on the trail has increased. Not to mention people climbing on the radio towers that are ACTIVE! Now consequences are in place and a new fence has been installed by the FAA to discourage people from tagging the buildings that are being used and climbing the antenna platforms. This new fence was breached almost immediately and people have taken the FAA facility signs as souvenirs. According to a fellow hiker who spoke to the FAA facility manager, the FAA is pressuring the Board of Water Supply and KS (two major landowners) to do something about people walking up this private road. Three people have been arrested for trespassing and FAA security will be flying in to determine what additional measures can be taken.
I would urge all of you who see this to avoid Kamehame Ridge and the Deadman’s catwalk for a while. If you do need to pass through along the KST, just go through and do not stop. The constant media attention with pictures only has brought more attention to those who are climbing on these radar towers.
It is actions such as these that can really hurt the hiking community and those who enjoy the freedom the mountains bring. I love the fact that I can hike and explore Oahu but it is disappointing that a few individuals can ruin this for everyone.