Koke‘e, Keahua and Lihu‘e area improvements set to begin

THE GARDEN ISLAND

The Department of Land and Natural Resources announced in a press release that in the first part of May it will begin working on improvements to the Koke’e hunter check-in station and forestry picnic areas including, Lapa, Alaka’i Vista and Sugi Grove.

The forest reserve will remain open for day use, but due to the extensive construction, camping facilities at Kawaikoi and Sugi Grove will need to be closed, starting in early May and lasting until mid-August, the release states.

In addition to the hunter check-in station and picnic area projects, DLNR is carrying out additional improvement projects this summer at: Keahua Arboretum, located within the Lihu’e-Koloa state forest reserves; and at the DLNR Forestry and Wildlife base yard in Lihu’e.

“These improvements are part of the Lingle-Aiona administration’s multi-year, multi-million dollar capital improvement program to upgrade our state park and recreational areas. It represents the first major reconstruction of facilities in the past 40-years,” said Peter Young, DLNR chairperson, in the release.

“They are designed to ensure the safety and comfort of all residents and visitors who use them.” “We will provide portable toilets and an alternative access to the trails,” Young said in the release.

In the beginning of May 2006, BCP Construction of Hawai’i will begin renovation work at the Koke’e Hunter check-in station and at the Kawaikoi, Lapa, Alaka’i Vista, and Sugi Grove picnic area, at a cost of $147,448. Completion is expected by mid-August.

Site Engineering this month is making trail repairs, renovating the existing composting toilets, and installing an accessible parking stall at the Keahua Arboretum at a cost of $109,100. Completion is expected by the end of July.

The arboretum is located down the road from the Wailua Reservoir. This peaceful site is home to monkeypod, mango, and fragrant eucalyptus trees. Picnic tables and pavilions are scattered throughout the areas. Several streams and freshwater pools that feed into the Wailua River flow nearby and provide a cool relaxing area to swim and relax.

Numerous trails start or pass by here, such as the Kuilau Ridge Trail and Powerline Trail, as well as the trail through the arboretum. Towering Mount Wai’ale’ale can be seen from there.

At the same time, Pacific Blue Construction is renovating DLNR’s Forestry and Wildlife baseyard facilities, which consists of repairing the picnic shelter, building new concrete walkways, railing work, parking stall striping and signage, and restroom renovations at a cost of $115,647. Completion is expected by mid-August.

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