Lydgate pond clean thanks to volunteers and county

Volunteers are invited to share their aloha for Kaua‘i’s keiki by joining a community beach clean-up on the first Saturday of every month at Lyd-

gate Park.

A group of committed volunteers, spearheaded by John Lydgate and Doug Nielson, has worked hard to clear the ponds enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors.

Created in 1964 through the efforts of Albert Morgan, the Lydgate ponds have been popular recreational spots for beachgoers of all ages for years.

However, battered by hurricanes, high surf and other events in recent years, the ponds’ walls are now badly degraded. After heavy rainstorms, debris from Wailua River fills the enclosures, making them unusable for the public. Last year, Lydgate ponds were closed 30 days out of the year, Lydgate said.

Today, thanks to the volunteers’ hard work, the pools at Lydgate Park are once again sparkling clean.

Lydgate, who considers himself a community advocate of the park named after his grandfather, J.M. Lydgate, said he would like to see the Army Corps of Engineers rebuild the walls of the Morgan ponds and wishes the county would keep a small tractor with four-wheel drive at the park to help expedite the work of clearing the ponds after the next inevitable storm hits.

In his opinion, a plan needs to be in place to care for the Lyd-gate ponds and keep them safe for kids to play in.

“It’s a hazard when it’s filled with spiky pieces of sharp wood,” he pointed out.

Lydgate said it takes a lot of sweat and hard work to pull the debris out of the ponds up onto the beach, where it can be cleared away by the county. The clean-up also costs thousands of taxpayer dollars.

But it keeps the ponds open and accessible to residents and visitors.

Until there is a plan in place, the Friends of Kamalani Playground will continue their ongoing effort to keep it in top shape. Their efforts are definitely working, Lydgate said. He was told by a visitor that the pond has never looked better in the last six years that he’s been here because of the efforts of these volunteers.

Lydgate acknowledged Tim Bynum, Thomas Noyes and the county’s Doug Haigh for their dedication to Lydgate and Kamalani. Aloha Beach Resort also supplies lunch for the volunteers on community cleanup day.

“This is not a campaign, it’s a crusade,” Lydgate said. “Lydgate Park is a wonderful example of a place that should be kept safe, accessible, and sparkling.”

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