By Tommy Noyes

Eva LaBarge flashes a shaka and smile as the Beach Cleanup Team clears crud from the baby pond at Lydgate Beach Park. An excavator in the background finishes up extracting the big logs. Photo by Tommy Noyes

Torrential rains in April disrupted many aspects of our island life. The fierce weather prompted the Friends of Kamalani to reschedule Earth Day in Lydgate Park 2018.The new event date for this popular community workday is Saturday, June 16.

Volunteers will check in at the Kamalani Playground at 7:30 a.m., and are advised to dress for a painting project. Appealing aspects of these community workdays are the nutritious and delicious snacks and lunch donated by supportive individuals, restaurants and markets, which will be served during the workday.

In April, a massive inundation of albizia logs swept down the Wailua River. Thousands of those logs washed into Lydgate Park’s popular enclosed swimming ponds. Within just a few weeks of the extreme weather events, the County of Kaua‘i contracted Kai Trucking to deploy personnel and heavy equipment. Tasked with clearing away the log snarl, the crew deserves recognition for delicately grooming the beach even as they chain-sawed and hauled off enormous logs weighing many tons. Their fondness for this special community beach park was apparent in their precise control and tidy beach grooming. Mahalo nui loa to: machine operators Tommy Gonsalves, Willy Lopez, Rysan Sakamoto, and Ruben Yadao; and semi-dump operators Russell Fernandez, Palani Correa, Alan Jeffries, Stanley Morinaka, Jr., Kimo Cabral, Eric Medeiros, Alfred Omo, Richard Rosa, Stan Morinaka, Sr., and Sam Moala.

Throughout this disaster recovery period, the dedicated Friends of Kamalani Beach Cleanup Team has coordinated Saturday morning volunteer beach cleanups. Continued beach grooming and coastal marine debris removal are two of the tasks planned for the June 16 Earth Day in Lydgate Park 2018 community workday.

The Friends maintain Kamalani Playground. With support from the County of Kaua‘i Department of Parks and Recreation, applying a coat of wood sealer to help preserve the 24-year-old playground is scheduled for the June 16 community workday.

Architect Bob Leathers of Leathers and Associates supervised the 1994 Kamalani Playground and 2001 Bynum Bridge community designs and builds. Bob’s son, Marc Leathers, and Marc’s wife, Kyle Cundy, currently manage Leathers and Associates. The pair recently visited to assess the status of these park facilities.

“It was so nice reconnecting the Friends of Kamalani and visiting the Kamalani and Bynum Bridge Playgrounds,” Cundy said. “How cohesive the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park are really stands out — they continue to not only maintain but beautify the area.

She added the Bynum Bridge is “near and dear” to her heart, as she was there when it was built, alongside here husband, her mother, her son and her father in law.

“It was much more than just a playground build to us,” Cundy said. “Lydgate Park is a little piece of paradise that the entire area should be proud of. We surely love it here and appreciate all the hard work The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park have put in to maintain their beloved playgrounds. Thank you!”

For more information on Earth Day in Lydgate Park 2018, contact Tommy Noyes at or at (808) 639-1018.

  • Tommy Noyes is Kaua‘i Path’s executive director, a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor and active with the Kaua‘i Medical Reserve Corps.

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