VOICES: ‘Please give us back our path’

To county Director of Parks & Recreation Patrick Porter;

I just returned home from my daily ride on the bike/walking path (Ke Ala Hele Makalae) that lies between the ocean and Kapa‘a. Someone said the path is the best thing that happened to Kapa‘a years ago, when the path was created. I agree. People of all ages have been riding or walking there throughout the pandemic, including happy 4-year-olds on scooters or others pedaling tiny 2-wheelers. Then there is the 93-year-old smiling woman I greet daily, taking baby steps with the assistance of her son and a walker. It is truly a diverse, democratic and happy fitness crowd, And the view from the path, white ocean waves crashing on a turquoise ocean with puffy white clouds shape-shifting in a cobalt-blue sky, is magnificent!

Unfortunately, this wonderful path has deteriorated because the county stopped cleaning it at the start of the pandemic. I have seen some residents along Fuji Beach sweeping the sand, pine needles and other debris from the path, and also know a volunteer who sweeps it weekly on the north side of Kapa‘a.

But after all these pandemic months, the path, especially south of the Kapa‘a Stream bridge, is a mess! There are several areas where three-quarters of the path is covered by sand and pine needles. Now, the ironwood trees are dropping prickly pine-cone balls, the hardness and size of marbles making the path potentially dangerous.

Bike tires are hampered by the cone needles, so riders swerve to miss them. In addition, several comfort stations are filthy and stink, some with rotting boards. Instead of a clean and safe place, our path and comfort stations have become a mess.

I went to the county parks office to complain, but it was locked with no one working. I left a written message about this problem, with no response.

What doesn’t make any sense is that the men operating the huge cleaning machine who used to sweep the path could have continued doing that throughout the entire pandemic, using a mask and social distancing.

Workers could have been emptying trash bins and cleaning the rest stations, which are filthy and smell like dog poop. Human trash is left in garbage cans and scattered out on the ground as well.

I implore the county to take responsibility and routinely clean sand, needles, ironwood cones and other trash off the path and repair and clean the rest stations as well. Please give us back our path, which is used for physical fitness and stress-relief by our residents as well as visitors. Please provide maintenance and make us proud of our path once again.



Gabriela Taylor is a resident of Kapa‘a

  1. Michaelle Edwards September 12, 2021 8:43 am Reply

    What a shame that the Kapaa path and bathrooms are not being maintained and cleaned. All of the young people who were on unemployment for months could have been part of a conservation crew all over the island to maintain trails, paths and public facilities. Like the CCC during the depression, these folks could be doing vital community service.The CCC was part of his New Deal legislation, combating high unemployment during the Great Depression by putting hundreds of thousands of young men to work on environmental conservation projects. I wonder if anyone involved with the path or the Rotary could start a citizen movement to improve and maintain our parks. The Hanalei pavilion bathrooms have toilets that need maintenance. I rarely use them but every time I do, there are at least two toilets running that need the flapper valve adjusted or replaced. The septic tanks are constantly filled with water and the resources are wasted. I usually take the time to remove the cover and try to fix it but I know most people do not. Why not get a bunch of locals who want to be part of a park beautification team to stay on this? Unfortunately our county seems so slow to improve or maintain facilities. It took 2 years after the Black Pot bathroom was installed to open it for use. It is so welcome after the disgusting portable toilets for so many years. However I wonder who designed these because the regular stalls in the women’s bathroom are so small that my knees are only an inch from the door! The handicapped stall is great but the regular stalls look like the dimensions are for a six year old. I am petite so I would imagine taller women will have to use the toilet without shutting the door!

    1. MisterM September 13, 2021 5:54 pm Reply

      So true. But cleaning toilets/sweeping doesn’t ‘look good’ on college entrance applications. It’s manual labor, the last thing an aspiring college student dares consider. Easier to sit at home joining social media ‘study’ groups that advocate for (green) apple pie and culturally-enhanced motherhood. Current leadership is woeful – the next generations don’t stand a chance.

  2. KauaiFarmMan September 12, 2021 9:13 am Reply

    There’s a guy who has lived on the bike path for almost 2 years now that lives in his car and poops in a 5 gallon bucket he keeps stashed under his car. Every time you go past him , you can smell human feces. Somehow the county has allowed this to continue. But they make laws to fine us if we don’t wear a mask. We have an incompetent mayor and broken system.

  3. Iron wood trees suck September 12, 2021 3:54 pm Reply

    They should cut the ironwood trees down and replace them with native trees.

  4. Joe Maka September 13, 2021 7:12 am Reply

    County “workers” used the pandemic to work less. They still got paid. We still paid taxes. They just had another excuse not to work.

    1. MisterM September 13, 2021 5:57 pm Reply

      Exactly. Then when the pandemic is over, nobody will demand they accept full responsibilities again – because if one Lifer insists, then all the Lifers will be expected to work – total anathema to government ‘workers’

  5. Kai Kim September 13, 2021 7:51 am Reply

    That is the east side… They don’t care. The county parks mission statement is to promote and beautify Poipu, while driving by and ignoring trash, homeless, junk cars, and make excuses for anything on the east side. Changing that would require county employees to take pride in doing their job. Not going to happen. Just look at what they have done to Lydgate park. The only way you are going to change it is to clean house and fire them all, but they know that won’t happen, so that is why they don’t care.

  6. Kimo Edwards September 13, 2021 8:23 am Reply

    If Patrick Porter was doing his job, he would create a culture there that would embrace the eyes and ears of the public to help him fulfill the county parks departments goals and mission statement. My experience has been that he has created a culture there that makes excuses and defends lazy employees that do not care. If you do get someone there to talk to, they will likely blame their laziness on DLNR, DHHL, KPD, Kauai Humane Society, no budget (for anywhere outside of Poipu), claim they do not have the power to enforce their own rules, and if all else fails, call it a “societal issue” and say call the Mayors office. Patrick Porter should clean house or be fired himself.

  7. truthbetold September 13, 2021 11:14 am Reply

    The same thing is happening at the Falls in the Homesteads! The people are climbing on the wall and the rail, putting people on their shoulders to see the falls! Someone is going to fall off that rail and get seriously hurt or worse. Please, can something be done to cut the trees back so they can see the beautiful falls.

  8. Rev Dr Malama September 14, 2021 7:49 am Reply

    Please let us know when you have hired Mike Green to sue the County of Kauai…. only then can we adjoin the case and see change.

  9. Kaaona Kipuka September 14, 2021 12:15 pm Reply

    The airport is still open and fully functional… hint, hint… lol

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