County considering access trail to Hideaways Beach

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    The trail down to Hideaways Beach in Princeville has long been facing deferred maintenance. The county’s Public Access, Open Spaces and Natural Resources Preservation Fund Commission is looking into purchasing and maintaining the easement.

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    A sign warns of a trial to Hideaways Beach in Princeville being closed.

PRINCEVILLE — Signs indicating access being closed to the sole trail down to Hideaways Beach on Kenomene Bay have been in place since April, and now an easement to get down to the water is currently being reviewed for possible county acquisition and maintenance.

Problems with the trail can be traced back to 1975, when an inaccurate easement was drafted and signed, members of the county’s Public Access, Open Spaces and Natural Resources Preservation Fund Commission learned at its Oct. 14 meeting.

Deputy County Attorney Mark Bradbury explained the easement originally granted by the Princeville Cooperation to the county meant to encompass the beach trail — which begins at Pu‘u Poa Condominiums off Ka Haku Road — down to Hideaways. However, the signed easement, which has been in place since May 1975, creates an easement to another beach and crosses over private property.

“Soon after the deed was drafted, for the next 40 years, the (homeowners association) of Pu‘u Poa and the county attorney’s office talked about redrafting the deed to make it correct and accurate, but it was never done,” Bradbury said. “During this period, which is in excess of 40 years, nobody — not Pu‘u Poa, not the county — maintained the trail.”

This explains why the trail went into disrepair despite community efforts to maintain it.

About two years ago, a visitor from California injured his hand while on the often-slippery hike and filed a lawsuit against the County of Kaua‘i. While this initial suit was dismissed, the tourist then filed a second lawsuit naming the county and Pu‘u Poa Condominiums for damages, which was settled, Bradbury said.

Fearing more liabilities, Pu‘u Poa, with the allowance of the county, put up signs at the head of the trail, closing access due to “dangerous conditions” in April.

Recently, a surveyor for Pu‘u Poa has redrafted a new easement deed for the county with an accurate trail route, which Bradbury, last week, requested that the commission consider financing, in addition to repairing the trail. The price tag for repair could be between $55,000 to $70,000, Bradbury estimated, for improvements that could include a concrete stairway with railing, but the exact repairs are to be determined.

The commission has the authority to recommend action to the Kaua‘i County Council, but if the county does not take on the easement, the trail will be officially shuttered.

“That would mean the general public of Kaua‘i are going to lose access to a very secluded beach that has no other access,” Bradbury said.

The commission deferred more discussion on the topic to its next meeting while members have some more time to weigh cost and maintenance.

“The Open Space commissioners requested more information regarding the repairs (costs, materials, special-management-area permits, timelines), as no information was provided other than hearsay ballpark figures from a third party,” commission Chair Nancy Kanna said Thursday. “In order to make an informed and intelligent recommendation to the Kaua‘i County Council, more information is needed.”

The commission next meets on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m.

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Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

9 Comments
  1. Robin October 22, 2021 4:46 am Reply

    The bottom line of this story is why do people sue when they get injured on a dangerous trail.
    Don’t go on it .. if you can’t handle the terrain.


  2. Uncleaina October 22, 2021 6:04 am Reply

    What?? It’s taken the county 40 years to fix a dumb mistake? Can’t they be given an extension? 40 years isn’t a lot of time to survey a path and write a new easement. I mean you have to look at it, measure some things, and then write up to 3-4 paragraphs – using whole sentences! This takes time people ! And who cares if access is lost because the current people can’t write this page? It’s just a secluded beautiful beach. Shouldn’t the tourists own this for themselves? What are the beaches even for? The tourists obviously. Let’s protect •their• rights to have this beach to themselves ~ because we just don’t have time or resources to write a 1 page easement ourselves. Maybe it’ll be ready just after we figure out Coco Palms.


  3. Makaala Kaaumoana October 22, 2021 7:15 am Reply

    According to Jay Furfaro, the name of the beach is Pakaula. It references things being carried. It has also been described as the location of a small settlement for Hansen’s disease patients.


  4. Makali'i Returning October 22, 2021 7:19 am Reply

    The guy that sued the County for falling shouldn’t be allowed back in the Hawaiian Islands.
    It’s people like that that destroy fun for everyone. Enough with the Clowns


  5. therealhawaiian October 22, 2021 8:01 am Reply

    As a taxpayer, it is not ok for the Government to use my money to purchase and landscape a property so tourists can not hurt their poor little hands! The justice system is complicit and so broken it can never be fixed, unless they tear it down and start over!


  6. Mailman Mike October 22, 2021 9:58 am Reply

    I was the resident manager of Pu’u Poa for 4 yrs in the 80’s. My groundskeepers and I maintained the trail to “Hideaways” and cleaned the beach regularly. Never had problems back then.


  7. Woods October 22, 2021 12:53 pm Reply

    I’m curious if once the county corrects the survey and officially takes control of the trail, including building concrete stairs and railings, if it is also then taking on a heavy liability burden for everyone that then trips and falls on the stairs.


  8. Lee Thomson October 22, 2021 10:04 pm Reply

    No one has addressed the parking situation. I believe there are very limited spaces to park.


  9. CJ October 23, 2021 3:10 pm Reply

    I think the trails should be improved and maintained, maybe converted to a State Park facility so that liability would be handled by a larger entity. With as many visitors as we get on Kauai, it makes sense to create safe, maintained pathways to favorite beaches. Hideaways is a tourist beach already, surrounded by condos and rentals. There are plenty of other beaches for locals where tourists rarely visit.


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