PRINCEVILLE — Someone repaired the rope handrails that help guide people down the steep trail to Kenomene Beach, or Hideaways Beach, on Kauai’s North Shore.
The County of Kauai obtained the easement for that trail in 1975, but it wasn’t repaired by county workers. Princeville Community Association is currently targeting safety issues at the trailhead to Queen’s Bath, but it wasn’t repaired by the PCA.
In fact, with the exception of a small amount of paving in the parking lot, maintenance has been hands-off in the area except for one man who has decided to take it at least partially under his wing.
“I didn’t do the ropes. I put up new signs, though,” said Drayton Richard, manager at Hanalei Bay Villas.
In a statement to The Garden Island, county parks and recreation director Patrick Porter said the county’s not aware of any recent work on ropes or railings along the trail.
“At this time, we do not have a schedule for any upcoming maintenance,” Porter said.
The parking lot, at least, is being maintained by Richard, who has added taking out the trash and general cleaning of the area to his list of daily chores.
Last Monday, he was outside placing metal fence poles along the curb at the entrance to the Hideaways parking lot, hoping to preserve the grass from the daily plethora of visitors trying to cram into the eight spaces in the lot.
“People ignore the no parking signs that we already have up,” he said. “They park all over the grass and some even try to park angled against the palm tree. Hopefully this will deter that.”
He doesn’t have answers as to who put new ropes and caps on the rusty poles leading down the path to the beach, either, but said he advises people daily of the dangerous trail and crowded conditions of the beach.
“Most days, the ocean isn’t as bad as the hike down is,” Richard said. “I see families with their coolers and chairs and a bunch of kids and I tell them they might think about going somewhere else.”
The path to the beach starts out as a narrow walkway that weaves between resorts to an overlook of the ocean. Then it’s a steep, rocky climb down a path edged by drop-offs. A system of ropes tied to metal posts provides stabilization for the climb up and down the trail, but periodically falls into disrepair. And there’s always the chance of a cut from a rusty edge.
Currently, though, all the metal posts have tops secured and are rust-free, and new ropes are tightly wound around the poles to create a railing and handholds.
The beach itself is a crescent-shaped stretch of sand about 300 feet long, and is popular for snorkeling and sunbathing. Nearby Pali Ke Kua Beach is separated from Kenomene by a large rock outcropping.
Parking is limited to get to Hideaways, which is a story echoed throughout the beaches and trailheads located in Princeville — there’s only about 10 spaces for parking at Queen’s Bath and only about eight spaces for parking at Hideaways.
And even though no parking signs are stacked along the curb throughout the area, people park their cars anyway, willing to risk a ticket for the chance to spend the afternoon at one of these places.
Makai Golf Course has opened up some parking for Princeville visitors, but solutions are still needed to keep parking in check in the area.
“I’ve asked if we could put two new parking spaces here (at Hideaways parking lot), but that hasn’t happened,” Richard said. “And people ignore the signs.”
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.