Saturday, May 21, 2022 |
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• Misleading signs?
• Super size me
• The big picture
• Boycotting the big box bully
• Call for impeachment
• The fight for Koke‘e
This letter was prompted by the tragic death of the two hikers on Tuesday at Opaeka‘a Falls (“Two dead after fall at Opaeka‘a,” Dec. 20).
As an avid hiker and lover of waterfalls, I have hiked and climbed to most of Kaua‘i’s waterfalls over a span of 30 years. It is one of my most enjoyable things to do and I’m sure I share this passion with many other waterfall enthusiasts.
Opaeka‘a and Wailua falls are some of my favorite waterfalls to visit here on Kaua‘i. Over the years, I have witnessed scores of people hike to the base of these falls and have very enjoyable times. I would rate the hike to the base of Opaeka‘a falls as only moderate in difficulty and have watched even overweight people in slippers, local and visitor, successfully negotiate the trail. It takes me under 10 minutes one way. The key is taking the “correct” trail.
To illustrate the point above about taking the correct trail, let me share one of my experiences at Wailua Falls. About nine months ago, after not hiking to Wailua Falls for three or four years, I went to the place that I remembered where the trail began only to encounter a sign that said “Danger Keep Out, Hazardous Conditions,” To me, this indicated that this wasn’t the correct trail, so I tried another trail down. The other trail almost got me into trouble with a sharp drop off; trouble that I had never had before. The “Danger Keep Out” sign, although put up with good intentions, inadvertently led me astray. The “correct” and best way to go down at Wailua Falls is where the “Danger” sign is placed as I discovered later.
At the beginning of the Opaeka‘a Falls trail, there was a similar “Danger Keep Out” sign at the beginning of the “correct” trail, the one that bears to the left from the parking area off the highway. The “false” trail that bears right was unmarked. Most of the trail guides that I have read don’t mention “Danger” signs. It is easy to imagine a first time Opaeka‘a hiker, after reading a trail guide, to think that the trail marked “Danger” was a false or wrong trail and instead try a different trail. Again, a sign put up with good intention may inadvertently lead hikers astray.
I realize that the “Danger Keep Out” signs are an attempt to keep people safe and very much a CYA in face of a lawsuit. As they stand, they are most useful to me because they usually indicate the correct trail down. Any attempt to block off a whole area will fail because people will always try to find some way. Perhaps what is needed is a sign with a map that shows the best or “correct” way down but advises on the difficulty and dangers, especially if it is wet. Of course “Go At Your Own Risk” could always be added for that CYA. Taking the “correct” trail in the first place is the key, and which trail that really is should be clear.
Editor’s note: TGI strongly encourages hikers to heed all warning signs on all Kaua‘i trails. If unfamiliar with the trail, research the route on the Internet or guide books. Consult more than one source. If you can, talk to someone who has done the hike. Most importantly, always proceed with caution and don’t step where you can’t see.
Super size me
Prior to returning to Kaua‘i to live out my remaining years, I lived in a small city on the Mainland which at one time had a local Wal-Mart the same size as our present Wal-Mart in Lihu‘e. Eventually, they opted to “super size.” Of course rumors were flying about the negative effect on the entire area.
One large supermarket panicked and shouted doom to the local economy.
I was a bit gullible at the time and reacted negatively at first. Well, Wal-Mart super-sized and lo and behold … the only business “hurt” was the one large supermarket that panicked.
Wal-Mart made them get real with their pricing. (Costco … local gas stations) … Yes, it would be great to preserve our “rural lifestyle” but friends, the big developers on our little piece of paradise have already negated that. I love Kaua‘i, and living here for the second time (1960s prior) with my daughters and grandchildren is a true blessing. But living on a fixed income, I would welcome a super-sized Wal-Mart … I’m lovin’ it!
The big picture
I see many needy families on Kaua‘i who would benefit from a Wal-Mart grocery store. Wal-Mart is willing to take EBT cards. Costco does not accept the food card. Let’s focus on the folks who need the help instead of worrying about big box dilemma. Especially since Wal-Mart land is not ag land, and will not even be seen from the highway.
Boycotting the big box bully
Fair competition is one thing … throwing your weight around like a weapon is quite another. Forcing yourself onto a small community and strangling the life out of local businesses by virtue of your enormous bulk is not fair competition by any stretch of the imagination, and I would argue not very ethical to boot, which is just one of the reasons I never shop at Wal-Mart and never will.
Call for impeachment
In order to correct a gross mistake, the person who made it has first to admit to it. George W. Bush will never make this admission. That’s why impeachment of him and his administration is the only way that we will be able to get out of Iraq with the least amount of further killing of Americans and Iraqis. Drastic as this seems, does anyone have a more viable solution? If so, let’s hear it.
I have previously suggested using the strength of the 140,000 American troops now in Iraq to dump the present puppet government and to forcefully establish a constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and minority rights for all Iraqis. This would require the forceful disarming of Muqtada’s 20,000 man militia and forbidding the establishment of sharia law by the Shiites, who are the Taliban of Iraq.
If this were to happen, the Sunnis would tell their al Qaeda assistants to go home, and a tripartite government of Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites would be possible, without partitioning the country.
The only way that this can happen is for the Democrats to relieve George W. as the decider. The Republicans did it to Bill Clinton for much a much weaker justification. It’s much too late for bipartisanship. What we need now is the action which was promised as a result of the Democrat victory in the November elections.
The fight for Koke‘e
David Au is not a member of the Kaua‘i community. As a matter of fact, he hasn’t lived on Kaua‘i for almost 20 years; San Diego is his home. He has attended none of the public meetings regarding the future of Koke’e over past several years. Mr. Au portrays my concern for the future of this state park as “disingenuous — a detraction from the real issue” since I am a Koke‘e leaseholder (“Open letter to DLNR II,” Letters, Dec. 22).
My letter (“Open letter to DLNR,” Letters, Dec. 20) never even mentions or alludes to the cabins or leases in Koke‘e. If he had been there, Mr. Au would know that testimony at the recent meeting came from all sectors of Kaua‘i’s community. Only a few leaseholders spoke, out of dozens who gave testimony. There was no self-interest, nothing about cabins or leases.
Please consider this: Koke‘e leaseholders love Koke‘e and are fighting to preserve a place they consider sacred. For the greater good.
What would he prefer we do — sit idly by while the state moves forward with their ill-conceived plans for the park?
First, I suggest Mr. Au get better informed before making false assumptions and allegations. Second, I suggest he focus his time and energies on his own community in San Diego and let the people of Kaua‘i manage their kuleana. Finally, please keep your definition of “conservationist” on the Mainland.
There already is broad public support to “conserve” Koke‘e. We don’t need any more “economic benefits” — that’s exactly what caused this groundswell of community discontent about the Master Plan in the first place.
Malama ‘Aina — Preserve Koke’e.
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