Volunteer group asks for help in cleaning up graffiti on scenic trail

Hikers say constant vandalism along a popular Kailua trail is destroying the environment.

Community members are now stepping up to fix the problem, but they need help.

The Kaiwa Ridge is better known as the Lanikai Pillboxes hike. It’s a short, un-sanctioned trail featuring two military bunkers and a panoramic view of Lanikai Beach.

Thanks to social media, the hike’s popularity has skyrocketed — but it’s also made it more prone to graffiti.

“The volume of folks coming up here has exploded in recent years,” explains State Representative Chris Lee. “There’s a lot of activity and a lot of tagging going on.”

Lee is well aware of the vandalism on this scenic hike. He says the problem dates back over 10 years.

“If we’re not going take care of it, then who is? That’s why so many of us, and so many people in the community, step in.”

Michael Loftin is a local resident who has taken matters in her own hands. Loftin is part of 808 Cleanups, a volunteer group. Their mission: keep Hawaii litter- and graffiti-free.

The biggest graffiti piece is halfway up the trail in the area known as Pride Rock. But hikers KHON2 spoke with say it’s not something to be proud of.

“It just throws off the whole view and the hike,” says Kalihi resident Jordan Lau. “If you like hiking in a garbage dump, it’s perfect,” says Susan Wurtzburg of Kailua. “If you like hiking in an unspoiled area, yeah. It’s a historic area, it’s unique, and we should be preserving it.”

“Tagging in general in these hikes have increased in the last two or three years, all throughout Oahu,” says Loftin.

808 Cleanups is working with state officials to figure out a way to get the vandalism to stop.

The group could use your help. “It’s about respecting nature and respecting the people that come here to enjoy nature as it is.”

Go to either the 808 cleanups website or Facebook page for more information.

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