Unexploded ordnance warning signs to be posted at Maunawili hiking trails

UXO warning signs (7:30a)

MAUNAWILI, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Warning signs will be going up to alert hikers about the potential for unexploded ordnances at several popular hiking trails in Maunawili Valley.

The notices will be installed on Monday, Feb. 7 at the Pali hairpin turn trailhead, the Maunawili Falls connector trailhead and the Waimanalo-end trailhead -- sites that were all once part of a former military training camp in Windward Oahu.

The signs warn and inform hikers about the possibility of unexploded ordnance, also known as UXO, in the area and what they should do if they come across any.

Management of the one-time Maunawili Valley Defense site has been taken over by the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Their Defense Environmental Restoration Program identifies areas across the state where UXO are potentially present and need to be removed.

The total area of concern within the former Pali Training camp stretches 900 acres and the last time officials did a removal sweep in 2011, they cleared 26 munitions and explosives, but this is not the only site the Army Corps of Engineers is surveying on Oahu for potential hazards.

Another spot on Windward Oahu is the Heeia Combat Training Area. The site included ammunition storage facilities, along with pistol and grenade ranges covering more than 2,200 acres within Waihee and Kaalaea Valleys and Kahaluu.

Other sites include Waianae, where propellant grains from the World War II era are washing shore at Maili Beach Park; the Waikane Valley Training Area, where officials have discovered high explosive grenades, mortars and rockets; and the former Pacific Jungle Combat Training Center, which covers approximately 2,500 acres in the Punaluu and Kahana valleys. UXO recovered at that site include 75mm armor piercing rounds, hand grenades and high explosive mortar rounds.

Many of these areas are largely undeveloped, but they do have pockets of residential, agricultural and recreational areas -- specifically popular hiking trails, which is why the warning signs are being installed.

The information included in the notice is based on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers "3R" safety program: Recognize, Retreat, Report. Officials say anyone who recognizes a suspicious item be sure to remember its locations, then retreat without touching or going near it -- and lastly, report it by calling 911.

UXO come in many shapes, sizes, and types -- everything from bombs to guided missiles.

Officials warn that even very old or small UXO can still injure or kill someone, so they need to be treated with extreme caution.

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