By: Paul Drewes
Hawaii Island off road enthusiasts have long lacked a place to ride, but the opening of a scenic trail at the top of the island opens up the possibilities for the growth of a growing sport.
For many a trip up the saddle road to the base of Mauna Kea gives you a chance to view the scenic sights of
Hawaii island and take in the quiet calm of this state park.
But for others this serenity has a different sound. The sound of ATVs and 4 wheel drive trucks.
And off-road enthusiasts couldn't be happier.
"It's an adrenaline rush of enjoying a sport where you can push yourself right up to the edge of being in danger." says Keaau off-road enthusiast, Ed Ung.
This growing sport had run into growing pains, with plenty of riders but no place to go.
"There's probably 27 percent of population with an off-road vehicle, motorcycle or quad or jeep and there haven't been any legal places to ride." says Kawiki off-road enthusiast, Tony Ferreira.
But a nearly 40 mile jeep trail on state land is exactly what many riders are looking for.
"Its rough, dusty dirty."
Now that this trail is open for motorcycles, ATVs and four wheelers, a race is already being planned across this grueling course.
While the state hopes riders enjoy this rough trail, they also opened it to keep other more fragile ecosystems safe from tires and fires.
"Driving off road vehicles off road leaves the scars on the cinder cones for a long time - so we would like to concentrate off road vehicles onto established forest roads." says Irving Kawashima with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Providing a place to ride while protecting other more sensitive parts of the island sounds good to many of these Big Island off roaders