State examines changes to Maunawili Falls Trail

A popular hiking spot has become a hot spot for crime and congestion and neighbors are fed up.

The state is now looking ways they can help restore the neighborhood around Maunawili Falls.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is considering building a parking lot to accommodate the hundreds of people who visit Maunawili Falls each day.

They will be working closely with the community this year to identify their concerns and come up with a solution everyone can live with.

Maunawili Falls is a hike in windward Oahu that draws people from around the world, but the trailhead is located in a neighborhood nestled right up against the Koolau mountains, one that used to be a quiet secluded one.

“We want to gate it,” Maunawili resident Gina Chung said.

Some hikers are making themselves right at home, picnicking in people’s yards and cutting across private property — something that neighbors say happens all the time.

“We ended up building a fence here because we would come home and there would people in the front yard eating lunch. When they’d leave, they’d leave their plate lunch containers and drinks and dirty diapers,” Maunawili resident Daniel Moore said.

Hikers are also leaving their mark in other ways.

“We have a hose out front. On rainy days, people would use the hose and bang their muddy shoes on the side of our house to knock the mud off,” Moore said.

But neighbors say the biggest problem of all is parking.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of people who come now and they are parked a mile in both directions. I know a lot of the neighbors have been calling the police pretty much daily to report the illegally parked cars,” Moore said.

After years of complaints to the city and state, the state DLNR is now planning to hire a consultant to work with the community and develop a plan.

One of the options on the table is building a parking lot.

The DLNR hopes to work with the community and put together a conceptual plan in about a year.

“Some kind of parking lot would help because it would ease the congestion in the neighborhood,” Moore said.

There are also some property issues that would need to be worked out.

Portions of the trail cross private property.

In the meantime, residents have one message to hikers.

“We don’t mind them coming up here as long as they respect our neighborhood,” Chung said.

The DLNR received state funds in years past to build a parking lot, but could not use the money because the concept and design process had not even begun.

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