PRINCEVILLE — Posts went up Tuesday blocking the entrance of a trailhead that leads to Kenomene Bay, or Hideaway Beach, in Princeville. Without this, access to a local treasure for diving, fishing and surfing is cut off.
It’s unsure how long the closure will last, but the county and Pu‘u Poa Condominiums are working together to restore that public access, County Attorney Matthew Bracken confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
This all stems from a lawsuit filed against the County of Kaua‘i and Pu‘u Poa Condominiums.
According to court records, the complaint by plaintiff Trevor Wright was initially filed in April 2019 in Fifth Circuit Court. Wright, a visitor, had injured his hand on the access trail.
Request for comment through the firm representing Wright went unreturned.
Pu’u Poa owns the trail, Kaua‘i County Councilmember Luke Evslin said, and is currently drafting an easement for the county to restore the access.
“The County Council would need to accept the easement after the document is prepared,” Evslin explained.
The item has been discussed for at least the last two years, beginning with a Sept. 19, 2018, memo from the Office of the County Clerk to the council, transmitted the personal-injury claim.
The topic then popped up in the executive (closed) session of the county’s Public Access, Open Space Commission in August 2019. More recently, the item appeared on the council’s executive-session agenda at the end of March.
Public access, Mike Lyons of Kilauea said, is an island-wide issue.
Lyons has been fixing up the trail since he was a teenager, cutting vegetation back and placing ropes to help in the descent to the beach.
With the current on-and-off closure of the road into Hanalei, the blockage of the alternative, unmaintained Fort Alexander trail nearby, and now this cut-off, getting to the water can be time-consuming and hazardous, he said. “The problem is there’s no access,” Lyons said Tuesday morning. “You can’t go down to the bay.”
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.