Letters for Wednesday • May 17, 2006

• Kalalau needs a ‘no-fly’ zone policy

• Good job on sidewalk

• Bike path will move forward

•Kudos to NTBG

Kalalau needs a ‘no-fly’ zone policy

Kalalau is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The rugged cliffs, waterfalls, white sand beach and magnificent valley all contribute to making this special place on our island a real treasure.

The Kalalau Trail is considered the best backpacking trip in Hawai‘i. The nearly vertical 3000-foot cliffs of the Na Pali prevented the building of a road into this remote area, thus preserving Kalalau from the encroachment of civilization.

If you’ve never been to Kalalau, you might imagine the place to be an ideal retreat: a sanctuary of peace and quiet in the wilderness, a place to “get away from it all.” You would be wrong, dead wrong.

Kalalau is plagued by helicopter noise from early morning to sunset. Helicopter traffic is almost constant, and there is no escape from the noise. Even the rushing sound of Kalalau Stream or the pounding surf on the beach fails to drown out the incessant noise pollution created by the helicopters. Visiting Kalalau has the feel of visiting a war zone.

There is absolutely no need for the helicopter “flight-seeing” tour operators to fly over Kalalau.

The Na Pali Coast from Ke‘e Beach to Polihale is 16 miles long. Visitors would not be deprived of a spectacular view of the Na Pali if the helicopter companies were restricted to the western portion of the Na Pali (west of Honopu Valley). Not only would this eliminate the unnecessary noise in Kalalau, but also, the unwanted noise over Ke‘e Beach Park and Ha‘ena, where a number of residents have been aggravated by helicopter noise for many years.

There are a number of beautiful wilderness areas in this country including the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Haleakala on Maui which already have “no-fly” zones in place to prevent noise pollution. It’s about time that Kaua‘i adopts a “no-fly” zone policy for Kalalau.

  • Dave Osborn

Good job on sidewalk

Hooray! The sidewalk that borders the Department of Water has been cleaned and made passable and safe for people who walk from downtown Lihu‘e to Kukui Grove and Pualoke. Mahalo to Ryan at the County Public Works department’s roads maintenance section for his rapid response. It was a big job which was done completely and well. Good job!

  • Jo Manea

Bike path will move forward

For those who read Mr. Mickens’ contrived comment regarding a “phantom bike path” please recognize where it is coming from.

It is well known that a small but vocal group of vacation rental condominium owners located off Papaloa Road in Wailua are opposed to a bike path and Mr. Mickens has long been their mascot. Mr. Mickens’s mud-slinging about the route of the path is his self-serving way to disguise the reason for the county’s decision. As he well knows, the decision to alter the route from what was to be a coastal public path was due to the county’s lack of money to uphold its property rights against those few condo owners threatening lawsuits. The county was forced to make an alternative route. One that crosses Kuhio Highway in front of the Seashell Restaurant and across from the planned development where Coco Palms once was. No, it is not the county’s poor long-term planning as Mr. Mickens’ comments allege. It is the county’s attempt to satisfy the most amount of its residents and visitors while contending with a tiny faction of people who continue to manipulate the public good, i.e. the bicycle path, through their pocketbooks. Another glaring example of Kauaians and their spirit of aloha succumbing to the ravages of developers and other real estate profiteers.

But now that gasoline is reaching $4.00 per gallon, the island’s infrastructure overwhelmed with gridlock, development out of control, a rubber-stamp zoning commission , and other flagrant violations of the people’s trust, etc. ad nauseam, the need for the bicycle path is becoming ever clearer. To all those who continue to work hard building this bicycle path I wish you well and thank you so much for all your efforts. Despite those comments of Mr. Mickens and other “nattering nabobs of negativity” (coined by Spiro Agnew during Watergate) we will move forward with the bike path and eventually come, not only to enjoy, but rely on, the benefits of this form of transportation.

  • Michael L. Smith

Kudos to NTBG

The Garden Island’s May 11 front-page article about the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Botanical Research Center is welcome news indeed! NTBG already marches at the forefront of native and endangered plant conservation. It’s fitting that the organization should also lead the way in “green” building design on Kaua`i. It’s my understanding that there’s even more news about NTBG’s planned research center than the building itself and the herbarium it will accommodate. The building will also house an extraordinary library.

NTBG’s library was already rich in horticultural and botanical literature before the Garden received the donation a few years ago of the 7,000-volume Loy McCandless Marks Library, which was described in a recent Honolulu Academy of Arts “Calendar News” as “the finest personal collection in the United States of rare botanical illustrated books.”

On a recent trip to Honolulu, I had the rare opportunity to peek at nearly four dozen volumes—published over half a milennium—from the Marks collection. You can too.

They’re on display with well-written explanatory labels, distributed through several rooms of the Academy’s Western Art wing. Originally scheduled to run through April 30, the exhibit has been so admired that its closure was extended to June 1.

NTBG deserves kudos for its dedicated work in tropical botany and horticulture, and congratulations on its development of the new Botanical Research Center.

Special thanks and praise should also be extended to NTBG’s overlymodest and excellent librarian, Richard Hanna, who created the gorgeous “Masterpieces” exhibit and manages the treasure that is the NTBG library.

  • Pat L. Griffin

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