LANIKAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Who cut the rope? Not the video game but the ropes that were on the hike up to the Lanikai pillboxes. The mystery has some hikers and neighbors pointing the finger at each other.
The Lanikai Pillbox Hike has been a source of debate for some time now. Neighbors say even just putting up a sign pointing to the trail created some tension. Speaking of tension there is lack of it in the ropes which used to help people up and down without falling. Sometime within the past two weeks they disappeared and some of the little trees they were tied to are knocked down.
"Maybe a disgruntled neighbor might have come up here and decided it wasn't the hike they wanted open to the public or maybe not," said Ian Kapostins, Kailua resident.
A neighbor estimates more than a thousand people hike it on a weekend day. The ropes made it easier for those with kids and those who may not be so sure footed.
"If you're not quite as athletic or came up in your flip flops not realizing any better than the ropes were pretty handy. So it's actually pretty disappointing that they're not here anymore. I don't know who would come and grab them," said Mary Dee, hiker.
"And we would always see the kids using them. There were a lot of people that did use them, so that's something that's really a shame," said Shelli Thompson, hiker.
"You know I could see the ropes for some but if it's encouraging more traffic then that's too bad. But then again it's a safety issue so pros and cons," said Bobby Bell, Kailua resident, who says the hike and the terrain has changed over the years. "You know it's kind of cool, it's very neat, but then again it's also very crowded so you lose some of the, growing up here, some of the appeal and what it was versus what it is now. It's kind of sad."
The state does not know who put the ropes up or took them out. However it is looking to strike a balance with concerned neighbors and hikers to come up with rules or regulations that satisfy both sides. The state already held a community meeting over the summer.
"I've noticed over the past 20 years that this past year, we have a lot of people, too many people. There's a lot of noise, traffic and they're parking on our street and it is private property," said Liz Rizzo, Lanikai resident at the meeting in July.
"People will be coming up here and why not make it something for all of us to be proud of and so tourists don't get hurt," said Alexandra Bishop, Lanikai resident.
"Our Division of Forestry and Wildlife Oahu district staff has begun to meet with the local community to create a plan for appropriate use of the Ka Iwa Ridge trail corridor that incorporates natural resource values, recreation potential and compatible interface with the surrounding community. Steps will include a survey to verify property lines, set access easements for public use and manageability; hiring a planning firm to produce a plan and EA for appropriate development of the trail corridor, and hiring a contractor to construct trail elements. Management and maintenance of the project will be handled by DLNR's Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW)," said Deborah Ward, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Information Specialist, in a written statement.
More ropes will not be part of the state's plans. Ward says people put too much trust in the ropes and if someone vandalizes it and it breaks people can get hurt.
The state also adds it is early in the process and public input will be welcome.