KILAUEA — Joseph Kamai has been fighting for public access to an ancient Hawaiian footpath that encircles Kauai for more than two decades.
“Landowners can’t block a historical trail,” he said. “This is exactly what they’re doing.”
He and other advocates for the coastal Ala Loa (long trail) on Kauai recently scrutinized Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg, who owns 700 acres of North Shore land they say the coastal path crosses over.
“We want people to know it’s a wonderful resource. It’s not only for Hawaiians. It’s for everybody,” said Agnes Keaolani Marti-Kini, a resident of Anahola and Poo (head) of Aha Moku Koolau.
On Saturday, she is spearheading a free educational event on the cultural, historical and importance of the Ala Loa Trail by the entrance of north Koolau Road by mile marker 20.
“We want to bring awareness to the Ala Loa and to the fact that it is our legal right to be walking on that trail,” she said. “We had people threatened because they were going to go down spearfishing like their father and grandfathers before them, or people that tried to access the trail to pick the limu. It started happening more frequently with everyone.”
The event includes an information area with the history of the Ala Loa and local speakers.
“We are also doing this peace walk to bring awareness and education to the neighbors and to the people who are interested in learning about the Ala Loa,” she said. “We’ll have handouts for them, storytelling and answer questions they may have.”
The problem lies with several wealthy landowners in the Koolau area who don’t believe that the Ala Loa Trail exists, she said.
“We want to bring some light that this is part of our Hawaiian history, and these people can’t own our history,” she said. “This is a valuable and vital treasure to the people who live here. This is how we’ve always used the path, and we want to keep it that way.”
Moloaa resident Hope Kallai said the trail should be protected.
“We need Mr. Zuckerberg to know that people hike the coast and they go from Moloaa to Kilauea often,” she said.
Marti-Kini wants landowners to be aware of these ancient Hawaiian treasures.
“We want to send aloha to Mark Zuckerberg because we know he’s new to the island and he probably doesn’t know this trail exists and it does cross his property,” she said. “If we don’t use it, and if we’re prevented from using this, it gets lost.”
The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Attendees are asked to wear white to show support for the Ala Loa as well as a safety precaution so oncoming drivers may easily spot them.
Parking will be along the wall on the makai side Koolau Road.