DLNR NEWS RELEASE: Maui’s most popular trail gets safety and conservation upgradesPosted on May 5, 2017 in Latest News
Hikers Now Have Viewing Platforms for Waihe‘e Ridge Trail’s Spectacular Views
(Kahului, Maui) – On one side of the Waihe‘e Ridge Trail, hikers look deep into the Waihe‘e Gorge. On the other, they look across Makamakaole Gulch and out into the shimmering Pacific Ocean. On a clear day, yet another view is across the entire central plain of Maui all the way to the top of Haleakala. This challenging, but scenic trail is considered the most popular path on Mau‘i in the State’s Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access Program.
Now the thousands of people who make the 2.5-mile trek to the top can do it safer and probably with a heck of a lot less mud attached to their boots. An almost completed $122,000 trail improvement program provides two viewing platforms, drainage features in particularly boggy areas, and better trail tread to reduce slickness. Torrie Nohara, the Nā Ala Hele trails specialist on Maui commented, “On every trail, water control is the number one consideration. We’ve built “sheet drains” that will divert water off the trail and not only make it more enjoyable for users, but help prevent erosion. On the lower portions of the trail we did significant excavation of large boulders and rocks to improve the contour of the trail.”
The Nā Ala Hele program falls under the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). It hired Cam Lockwood of Trails Unlimited to help design the new features and supervise trail improvement and construction work. His California-based company has built and improved trails nationwide. He says the Waihe’e Ridge Trail incorporates some of the best thinking and best practices around for trail improvements. “For instance,” Lockwood explained, “The large viewing platform on top and the one about a mile up the trail are constructed with pressure treated lumber raised off the ground to provide a longer useful life. Composite decking was used on the viewing platforms to also extend their life spans and to provide improved traction in the often, wet conditions at the terminus of the trail.” He said the primary consideration for all the improvements was to make the entire trail more sustainable, more enjoyable, and safer. He describes the views from the top as “breathtaking” and hopes people will focus on those, rather than the challenge involved in making the 1,500-foot elevation gain hike.
While most of the major construction is now complete, crews continue to put finishing touches on some of the features and certain sections of the trail. The Waihe’e Ridge Trail is open for hiking, but people are asked to exercise caution and respect when traversing through construction zones. For complete information on this trail please visit: https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/trail/waihee-ridge-trail/111
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(Video & Images Courtesy: Hawai‘i DLNR)
Video News Release, “Waihe’e Ridge Trail Improvements”
HD video and SOTs: (shot sheet attached)
Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Dept. of Land & Natural Resources