- Associated Press - Sunday, July 16, 2017

WAIMEA, Hawaii (AP) - A popular Waimea trail continues to attract hikers even after the Department of Land and Natural Resources cited dozens for trespassing.

Several hikers were spotted at the White Road Trail on Friday and Saturday, West Hawaii Today reported (https://bit.ly/2tZ55NT). The trail is on land owned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. There are signs on the trail that tell hikers that it is private property and to keep out.

Hikers and Waimea residents Noah De La Cruz, 19, and Ani Case, 18, were unsure of whether to trek the trail on Saturday. De La Cruz said he has hiked the trail about three times without being cited.

Aside from violating trespassing laws, hikers can also be putting themselves at risk because the trail is dangerous, Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward said.

The path is slippery when wet. If hikers were to fall, they would drop hundreds of feet and would not be able to call anyone for help because there is no cell service, officials said in a news release about the trail’s dangers.

Case did not think it was fair that hikers were being cited for walking on the trail.

“My mom told me that if anyone were to tell us anything, it’s like for cultural purposes,” Case said. “Because we do respect the land; we’re here to pray for the good of it.

“We’re not trying to do anything bad. We’re just trying to see it, feel it.”

But James DuPont, West Hawaii district supervisor for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, said the matter is not up for debate.

“I mean it’s pretty simple,” he said. “If this was your private property, how would you feel if the masses just crossed your land?”

Other concerns caused by hikers include unintentionally bringing invasive species such as insects on their shoes, which could put the forests and other forms of life at risk, said Juni Medeiros, whose family has held the lease to the Hawaiian Home Lands parcel for more than 40 years.

“Traveling should be a caution with those things in mind,” he said. “In order for us to survive, we need to be conscious and conscious of life.”


Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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