Motorcyclists want to use state land in Anahola

Off-road motorcyclists and bicyclists are forming an association to lobby state and county government officials to use public lands on Kaua’i for their recreational activities.

Between 20 and 25 motorcyclists and bicyclists attended a meeting in Anahola recently to discuss the formation of the Combined Off-Road Riders of Kauai, according to spokesman Danny Lampley.

When formed, the group will initiate efforts to protect trails and create new ones across the island for bicyclists and off-road motorcyclists, Lampley told The Garden Island in a recent interview.

One area which representatives from the group would like to use is 429 acres on the makai side of Anahola.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which manages that parcel, has not approved motocross-riding on the land.

Lampley said motorcycle groups on other islands have won the right to use public lands for their sport, and motorcyclists and bicyclists on Kaua’i want to be afforded that same opportunity.

On Kaua’i, motocross riders have a track on county land near the Wailua Golf Course.

The creation of the group could result in the approved use of government lands on Kaua’i for motorcycle riding where few or none exist now.

The effort to form the association was initiated after the Kaua’i County Council instructed Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste’s administration to use $100,000 to put in movable toilets at the Wailua motocross track.

Off-road riders need to use the government lands to “practice” before competing at organized events at the Wailua facility, Lampley said.

Although the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands doesn’t allow motocross-riding on its lands, Lampley is hoping the association leaders can work something out.

Because motocross riders want to perpetuate their sport, they will take care of the land they ride over, Lampley believes.

“We hope to preserve the land and not be destructive as an association,” Lampley said.

That goal may be elusive, as some residents living on the mauka side of the Anahola parcel have voiced concerns about noise and dust that have come from a small number of motorcyclists who have been using the parcel.

Lampley said he believes problems can be worked out if both sides are willing to see the other’s point of view.

Lloyd Yonenaka, the administrator of the Information and Community Relations Office with DHHL, said department lands on Kaua’i and those throughout the state are intended to help DHHL beneficiaries by providing them with homestead and ranch or farm leases.

Allowing motocross use on department lands is not a priority of the department, Yonenaka told The Garden Island.

Lampley said motorcycle groups have used the Anahola parcel for “poker runs” and other motorcycle events, and have put up hefty insurance polices to cover themselves in case of accidents.

Motorcyclists have continued to use the Anahola parcel over the years.

Anahola community leader James Torio said a focus of the Saturday meeting was to “talk about concerns and potential solutions to mitigate any problems with excessive riding in Anahola.

“The county is not dealing with the impact of motor-cycle-riding on the island, especially in Anahola,” he said. “We have graciously allowed it.”

Torio said something has to be done to prevent more accidents from occurring on DHHL lands, mostly vacant brush land that was once used for cane cultivation, Torio said.

At the request of Lampley, Torio said he wrote a letter to DHHL officials to discuss the future of “acquiring land for recreational riding at a safe and convenient location that doesn’t disturb the community.”

Another meeting is scheduled to be held in Anahola today. Contact Lampley at 482-1480 for more information.

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