Nearly every week, the local news reports on hikers who have gotten lost and disoriented or who have fallen and been injured or even killed. Often times these hikers were on non-sanctioned or ‘social trails’ highlighted by various social media sites and blogs, according to a recent news release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The DLNR Na Ala Hele Trail and Access System, administered by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife has introduced a newly designed trails website which provides detailed information, directions, safety considerations, announcements and closure status for more than 100 official State trails.
The website https://hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/trails is intended to be the one and only reliable source for hiking information for the wide array of trails across the state on every island. “The trails in the Na Ala Hele system are maintained, marked with signage, and while we encourage all hikers to use common sense and good judgment always, the State trails provide a safer experience than many of the non-state trails that have often been touted by non-official websites,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.
In addition to detailed trail descriptions, the site includes the latest announcements and closures. For example, this is a current advisory on the site:
“Kamananui Valley Road Construction Announcement Beginning October 16, 2017, Kamananui Valley Road will undergo road repairs to mitigate flood erosion and improve access. Kamananui Valley Road and Kulanaahane Trail will remain open for regular trail hours. However, users are advised that construction may impact visitation due to crew and vehicle through fare, noise, dust, or intermittent delays/closures. Please anticipate these changes and plan for alternative dates or locations.” This page includes tabs to highlight any impacted trails and a link to an informational guide on construction. It also has information on public forums or meetings to discuss trails, like the recent Ka‘iwa Ridge Trail (Lanikai Pillbox Trail) Master Plan meetings, seeking community input and inviting people to respond to a survey.
The website is mobile-friendly and easily viewed on mobile telephones. It also includes vendor information and a vendor application page through eHawaii.gov for people or companies wanting to conduct commercial trail tour activities on approved trails and access roads.
Case added, “We want to constantly improve and update the State trails website. Users can provide feedback on it by clicking on the ‘give feedback’ tab. Our intent is to provide a central resource for the tens of thousands of visitors and kama‘āina who enjoy all that our trails have to offer. We really encourage people to bookmark this site and use it exclusively for the most up-to-date and authoritative information on the Na Ala Hele State trails. There are plenty for any hiking skill level and for a lifetime of enjoyment in Hawai‘i’s incredible and unique outdoor environment.”