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Hawaii is getting federal funding to improve public outdoor recreation. The state is planning to use the grant money for projects on Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii Island.
On Oahu, the money would fund repairs to the Makapuu Lighthouse trail. Kauai’s Polihale State Park is also targeted for various facility improvements. Both of these are very popular destinations and the projects “will address a high priority recreation demand for the repair of aging and heavily used recreational facilities” according to the news release from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
While maintenance and upkeep is sorely needed, I think the third project is the most exciting. A “blue water trail” is proposed for the Kona coast of the big island of Hawaii. It will be an ocean trail that boaters, kayakers or paddlers can follow from Honokohau to Kawaihae. The trail is still at the planning stage, but is is supposed to link up state and national parks between the two points.
I had never heard of a blue water trail, but apparently they are becoming popular in other states. I found a couple in a quick internet search. One in Kansas has signs along the way to identify rock formations and fauna. Trail guide booklets are also available. A blue water trail in New York is a map of sites that allow paddlers access to the water. It tells which have boat rentals or launches where people bring their own equipment. Paddlers there are trying to increase community access to areas with limited canoe and kayak launch sites. While both of those blue water trails focus on canoes and kayaks, Hawaii’s ocean depths allows for many more water craft.
The news release doesn’t specify how the $396,413 in federal funds will be pided among the projects. It does say the DLNR proposes projects that are recommended to the Board of Land and Natural Resources and then the National Park Service for approval and that “Projects are selected based on their ability to address high recreation demands and needs…”
We may not see the blue water trail right away, given all that planning, but it is an interesting approach to link ocean and land recreation in Hawaii.