They're back! 'Love locks' reappear on Oahu trail

They're back! 'Love locks' reappear on Oahu trail

MAKAPUU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state and volunteers are trying to stop couples from leaving 'love locks' at a scenic spot in East Oahu.

The tokens of affection are starting to make a comeback at the summit lookout on the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail.

Back in September 2014, volunteers from 808 Cleanups cut off nearly 1,000 padlocks on a trail fence and conducted weekly maintenance.

"Our concern at the time was that fence was old .. so we wanted to remove them and improve the safety of that site," said Michael Loftin, executive director of the volunteer group.

Signs went up to discourage the practice and to let visitors know that any locks would be removed. Volunteers were also concerned about people throwing the padlock keys off the lookout into the cliffs and ocean below.

As part of a trail improvement project, the state installed new fencing last year with thick vertical bars to discourage the practice. But now, there are nearly two dozen large locks attached to the lookout.

"Unfortunately, what we're seeing is that it's not fully preventing it. I think it slowed it down, but I think we'll still have to maintain love locks and remove them over time," said Loftin.

Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources are disappointed that people are simply using larger locks.

"Placing love locks on fences, bridges and public structures is a serious littering problem that promotes rusting and the decay of metal infrastructure which will weaken the new safety fencing at the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline," said state parks administrator Curt Cottrell, in a statement.

Workers from the state and volunteers with 808 Cleanups plan to resume regular outings to end the unwanted display of unbreakable love.

"The locks not only add nothing of value to the site, but they also damage it through rust. The salt air interacts with the lock and that makes the fence rust faster. So that's actually taxpayer money on this new fence that went in," Loftin said.

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