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Old habits die hard in Hawaii!
That’s what some state officials are finding out, after ‘love locks’ recently started re-appearing on an East Oahu landmark.
According to Hawaii News Now, the state and volunteers are trying to stop couples from leaving ‘love locks’ at the summit lookout of the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail, ever since the tokens of affection started to make a comeback.
For years, couples in Hawaii attached ‘love locks’ to a fence at the top of the trail, similar to the practice in Paris and other sites around the world. But, in September 2014, volunteers from 808 Cleanups cut off nearly 1,000 padlocks on a trail fence and conducted weekly maintenance.
“Our concern at the time was that fence was old… so we wanted to remove them and improve the safety of that site,” Michael Loftin, executive director of the volunteer group, told Hawaii News Now.
Signs went up to discourage the practice and to let visitors know that any locks would be removed. Volunteers were also concerned about people throwing the padlock keys off the lookout into the cliffs and ocean below, according to the news station.
Hawaii News Now reports that, as part of a trail improvement project, the state installed new fencing last year with thick vertical bars to discourage the practice. But now, there are nearly two dozen large locks attached to the lookout.
“Unfortunately, what we’re seeing is that it’s not fully preventing it. I think it slowed it down, but I think we’ll still have to maintain love locks and remove them over time,” Loftin told the news station.
Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources are disappointed that people are simply using larger locks.
“Placing love locks on fences, bridges and public structures is a serious littering problem that promotes rusting and the decay of metal infrastructure which will weaken the new safety fencing at the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline,” said state parks administrator Curt Cottrell, in a statement.
Workers from the state and volunteers with 808 Cleanups plan to resume regular outings to end the unwanted display of unbreakable love.
“The locks not only add nothing of value to the site, but they also damage it through rust. The salt air interacts with the lock and that makes the fence rust faster. So that’s actually taxpayer money on this new fence that went in,” Loftin told Hawaii News Now.
For now, there’s not much preventing visitors from sealing their love with a lock at the top of Makapuu Lighthouse Trail, one of the most popular hikes on Oahu and a place you will likely pass during Hawaii Aloha Travel’s Circle Island Tour. But, it won’t likely be long until state officials and volunteers put an end to the practice… for good. So, better to respect the rules than try and circumvent them — even if it means finding another way to lock-in your love!