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Hiking Trails Statewide to Receive $500K for Improvements

July 7, 2019, 11:00 AM HST
* Updated July 5, 12:28 PM
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Waihe‘e Ridge trail construction. Photo: DLNR.

With many of Hawai‘i’s most popular trails seeing record numbers of hikers, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) is providing funding for the assessment and upkeep of the state’s 128 official hiking trails.

HTA is giving $530,000 to the State Department of Land and Natural Resourcesʻ Na Ala Hele Trail and Access System for the initiative.

“Getting this level of funding from Hawai‘i Tourism was an unexpected surprise,” said Mike Millay, statewide program manager for Na Ala Hele under the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife. “This funding is earmarked for conducting a universal trail assessment of the state’s 128 sanctioned trails which cover 825 miles of recreational trails. This will allow us to gather data on how many people are regularly using specific trails and to identify trail maintenance and improvement issues we need to address for the safety and enjoyment of our wonderful trail system.”

The funding is part of an HTA strategy to inform and educate local residents and visitors on how to approach the environment and supports restoration efforts throughout the state. During the past year, HTA has funded numerous projects to fight Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death including sophisticated aerial mapping of forests across the state and education initiatives to help prevent the spread of the fungal disease.

HTA also paid for the final production costs of the Mālama Hawai‘i public service announcement campaign. A series of seven 30-second PSAs are being shown on incoming flights to Hawai‘i on several air carriers and in more than 27,000 rooms around the state on closed-circuit TV systems.

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“HTA has a strong and lasting commitment toward helping protect and preserve the very natural and cultural resources that bring millions of visitors to our shores each year,” Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, HTA’s director of cultural affairs said. “In addition to the trail assessment we’ll be working closely with the Na Ala Hele system on a sign initiative to best inform trail users, as well as to help conduct clearing operations to improve safety conditions.”

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“The partnership we have with HTA is invaluable in providing additional resources to address some of the most pressing issues associated with people ‘loving Hawai‘i to death’,” said DLNR chair Suzanne Case. “We all understand the attraction people from across the globe have to this place we call home. With help from Hawai‘i Tourism and the many other partners DLNR regularly works with, our goal is to not only improve the quality of outdoor experiences for our visitors, but the quality of life for kama‘aina.”

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