Ideas for Solo Hiking – Near Central Maui

In April 2020 we are required to keep a distance from people outside of our own household to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and to allow our health and other services to take care of those who need help. Sierra Club has therefor canceled all organized outings until further notice. But we are still allowed to venture out on our own or with members of our own household for exercise such as walking, running, hiking, swimming and surfing. No need to stay cooped up at home all day. Just keep at least six feet between yourself and anyone you meet. This is the third of several posts on good places to go hiking/walking without a guide.


The Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge is a wonderful place to hike and explore, easy to get to from Central Maui. If it wasn’t for the current “social distancing” restrictions, it would be an excellent place for a picnic and spending the day as well. The refuge is open to the public.

Here is some information from the Hawaian Islands Land Trust (HILT), the custodians of the refuge:

Once slated for development as a golf course, the Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge protects over 24 acres of coastal, spring-fed wetland, 103 acres of dune ecosystem, over 7000 feet of marine shoreline and more than 8 acres of riparian habitat for the recovery of native birds and native vegetation. The Land Trust took fee ownership of this very sensitive 277-acre site in 2004. Active restoration programs have enhanced critical native wildlife habitat, while preserving the area’s rich archaeological and cultural resources. Once populated with two thriving ancient Hawaiian villages, an extensive inland fishpond and several heiau (Hawaiian temples), the Waihee Refuge is among the most significant cultural sites in the state.

The Hawaiian Island Land Trust (HILT) aims to restore the Waihe’e Refuge to reflect the cultural and natural state it would have been in 200 years ago. This vision requires a lot of labor intensive work; when HILT (formerly Maui Coastal Land Trust) acquired the Waihe’e Refuge, roughly 95% of the plants found on the site were considered to be invasive species.

Restoring the Waihe’e Refuge to its historical, natural state will encourage native plants to take hold of the site again, thereby enhancing the natural resilience of the system. A healthy, more resilient landscape could buffer the impacts of climate change better than a damaged landscape could. The wetland is now up to 70% native species and native plants and birds have begun to naturally repopulate the surrounding landscape.

In testament to the returning health of the ecosystem, eight different endangered species have taken up residence at the Refuge in recent years. With the wetlands primarily cleared and habitat-appropriate plants now thriving, the area is host to many native Hawaiian bird species, including ae‘o (stilt), alae ke‘oke‘o (coot), koloa (duck), and even nene (goose).
Quiet and pristine, the Waihe‘e shoreline is a favorite retreat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals and nesting green sea turtles. Off the coast, the extensive reef is one of the longest and widest on Maui. It’s believed that this reef system provided excellent fishing in ancient times and it is, in fact, still a favorite among local fishermen today.

Parking for the refuge is either on the grass next to the refuge entrance or in the beach parking lot next to it. To get there, take Halewalu Road from Kahekili Highway. Halewalu Road leads to the Waiehu Golf Course and there are signs at the turnoff for both the golf course and the refuge. After 0.4 miles the turnoff from Halewalu Road to the refuge is on the left side. There is a sign. The road ends after 0.2 miles with the refuge entrance on the left and beach parking on the right.

This map shows a hike of 2.6 miles round-trip on level ground:

https://bit.ly/waihee-dunes

After entering the refuge, after 1,000 feet you will arrive at a fork in the trail. The old dairy is on the right and there is a map and interesting information about the refuge to read here. You can continue straight at this point, parallel to and close to the ocean, or you can take a detour off to the left as in the map. The detour takes you past areas where volunteers have been working on planting native Hawaiian plants and then rejoins the coastal trail. Either way, you will continue along the coastline until you reach the mouth of the Waihe‘e River. That is the turning point.

Coming back along the coastal trail, you can opt to walk for a stretch on the round rocks on the beach before continuing on the trail back to the parking area.

There has been very little trash the last few times I have been there, but please bring a bag just in case. The area most likely to have washed up plastic debris is the last beach before getting back to the parking area.

Ideas for solo hiking – West Maui

In April 2020 we are required to keep a distance from people outside of our own household to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and to allow our health and other services to take care of those who need help. Sierra Club has therefor canceled all organized outings until further notice. But we are still allowed to venture out on our own or with members of our own household for exercise such as walking, running, hiking, swimming and surfing. No need to stay cooped up at home all day. Just keep at least six feet between yourself and anyone you meet. This is the second of several posts on good places to go hiking/walking without a guide.

The Kapalua Coastal Trail is an easy walk on the West Side with breath-taking views.

For a minimal 2-mile walk, park at Kapalua Parking at the intersection of Kapalua Place and Lower Honoapiilani Highway, cross Kapalua Place and follow the trail down to and along the ocean. Note the detour (see the map) out to a point at about 1/2 mile into the walk.

Note: as of May 12 at least, the path from DT Fleming Park to Makalua Point is closed off due to the coronavirus pandemic, so for this hike don’t park at DT Fleming. But you can park near the corner of Office Road and Lower Honoapili Road. That lets you do the Makaluapuna Point detour as well.

Update July 11: The restrooms at DT Fleming Park and the one at the other end of the hike at Kapalua Bay are now open.

For a longer outing, park at DT Fleming Park instead and head up the concrete path until you reach Kapalua Place and the trailhead described above. On the way there, take a detour on the lawn to the right where there is a fence and a monument informing about the historic events at Honokahua. In 1987 development of the Ritz Karlton started and uncovered the bones of hundreds of Hawaiians. There were massive protests on Maui and in Honolulu, leading to the moving of the Ritz Karlton away from the site, the preservation of the burial area and in 1990 to the Burial Treatment Law that gives traditional Hawaiian burials the same protections as those for Christian cemeteries.

On the way back from this longer outing, follow the Honokahua fence out to Makaluapuna Point for a detour to see some unusual lava stone formations forming a toothed wall against the crashing waves.

Here is a map:
https://bit.ly/kapalua-coastal

A message from the Sierra Club Maui Group amidst COVID-19

We hope you and your ʻohana are healthy and safe. We want to let you know that we are concerned about you—our valued members, volunteers, supporters and share some information and resources about how we will get through this together. We also want to update that the Sierra Club staff is currently working from home and all in-person gatherings like outings and other activities are canceled through April 30th (dates will be updated in the upcoming weeks).

For over a century the Sierra Club has used the power of bringing people together, to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth and restore the quality of the natural and human environment. Today we face additional challenges that compel us as an organization to change our in-person approach—but with no less dedication to our mission. To protect our community and wonderful volunteers, we will be working together while staying apart… but only physically. As we continue to pursue our goals, we are shifting our work to maintain connections online and do our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

For the foreseeable future, our communities, economy, and democracy will face critical choices about the path ahead. As we confront a rapidly changing world, the Sierra Club has and will remain committed to fighting for a clean, just and equitable future. In light of the pandemic, our foremost demand has been for immediate relief for those affected by both the health and economic crisis. The Senate has finally approved a coronavirus relief package, providing sick leave, unemployment benefits, free coronavirus testing, food and medical aid to those most in need. The Sierra Club supported this package and our National teams worked to drive nearly 30,000 emails to members of Congress and over 4,000 tweets in support of the relief package.

This is a time when our shared values and aloha for each other play an important role. With this mindset, we can help our communities get through this in a way that minimizes the impact on the wellness and safety of us all while we continue to work towards environmental and cultural protection in a more just world.

When this is all over, we will have transformed, no doubt. We look forward to staying connected with you and of course getting together in person again to advocate for the environment, get outside for outings and service projects, and band together to continue to protect what we love.

Stay safe, healthy, positive, and calm. Together, we will move through this and hold hope for a better world.

 

NEW WEBSITE BY County of Maui Office of Economic Development for COVID19 related issues on Shelter, Food, EBT, Farmers, Rent, Unemployment, business loans, and Medical Services is:  https://www.covid19mauinui.com/

Action alert: Single use plastics ban hearing on April 17

Maui’s single-use plastics ban passed first reading (votes 8-1) in March. The council will next hear the bill on April 17. You can tune in to the meeting and submit testimony from the safety of your home:

We are asking folks to email our Council Members to thank them for voting for the ban in the first reading and also to email your testimony for the 2nd and FINAL reading in support of the Plastic Ban by Noon on April 16th.

EMAIL TESTIMONY for COUNCIL MEETINGS
to the Office of the County Clerk at county.clerk@mauicounty.us or (808) 270-7171 (fax).

PARTICIPATE BY PHONE OR VIDEO

On April 17th at 9am:

To provide oral testimony, call 1-408-740-7256 or 1-888-240-2560 (toll-free) and input meeting ID 592474137 followed by Passcode 1139.

To join by videoconference, use the following link: https://primetime.bluejeans.com/a2m/live-event/pzhvjjst.

 

Ideas for solo hiking – South Maui

In April 2020 we are required to keep a distance from people outside of our own household to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and to allow our health and other services to take care of those who need help. Sierra Club has therefor canceled all organized outings until further notice. But we are still allowed to venture out on our own or with members of our own household for exercise such as walking, running, hiking, swimming and surfing. No need to stay cooped up at home all day. Just keep at least six feet between yourself and anyone you meet. This is the first of several posts on good places to go hiking/walking without a guide.

South Maui is blessed with miles of easily accessible coastline that even novice hikers can enjoy. You can walk from beach to beach with only short detours on low grassy bluffs all the way from Kalama Park to Ulua Beach, over 3 miles. This stretch includes beautiful views out over low rocky cliffs as well as eight sandy beaches. Stay as close as you can to the water to keep on this trail. When you get to the South end of Ulua Beach you can walk up to the paved Wailea Beach Walk and continue for another mile to Polo Beach. No need to do the whole trail – you can generally get to it from South Kihei Road or Wailea Alanui Drive from one or both ends of any of the ten beaches it passes. Here is an approximate map of the 4+ mile (one-way) path described:

bit.ly/south-maui-walk

 

Annual Meeting

2020 Annual Meeting graphic
Members and Non-Members Welcome!

Maui Group Annual meeting on Leap day, February 29 was a great chance to honor environmental heroes and enjoy good food, fun and fellowship. Mahalo to Flatbread Pizza, Nalu’s South Shore Grill, Monsoon India, Hawaiian Moons, Aloha Aina BBQ, Maui Coffee Roasters and Maui Sustainable Solutions for food and beverage donations. About 100 attendees got legislative updates from Chapter Policy advocate Jodi Malinoski, Rep Tina Wildberger and Council member Shane Sinenci.

congratulations to our award winners:

Onipa‘a: Walle Landenberger and Kai Nishiki
Mālama ka ‘āina: Justin Kekiwi, Tina Roth, Autumn Rae Ness
Mālama kahaki: Jim Koons, Bob Aldrich
Volunteer of the Year: Kim Toomey

 

Re-Tree Hawaii

The news on the climate front continues to get worse. We had at least one day in February when Antarctica was warmer (65 degrees) than many places on Maui. Melting glaciers and polar ice caps will trigger an accelerating increase in carbon dioxide and global temperatures.

Hawai‘i has to do its part to reach carbon neutrality – stop releasing more net greenhouse gases that capture heat in the atmosphere – by shutting down all fossil fuel plants (Kahului and Ma‘alaea on Maui), replacing ground transportation with electric or other zero-emission vehicles, improving public transportation and replacing inter-island traffic with more efficient and ultimately zero-carbon-emitting means of travel. More local production of food and other goods for consumption in Hawaii will reduce the need for shipping, which is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Limiting tourism to sustainable levels would dampen the continued growth in flights.

However, air and sea transport to and from Hawaii will continue to generate very large amounts of greenhouse gases for years beyond when the steps above have been taken, and we have an accumulated carbon debt which will take even longer to pay off. We have to also invest in removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

There are new technologies in the works that may help, but there is one established technology that has been around since before the industrial revolution, before man, before any animal life: photosynthesis. Plants consume CO2 and water with the help of sunlight and produce oxygen. Trees are champions in that they can continue to do this work for dozens or hundreds of years once they get started.

Unfortunately, the increase in CO2 emissions has been paralleled by continuous destruction of forest areas on the planet – 15 billion trees per year according to one article, with only 5 billion replanted. Most of this is due to expansion of industrial agriculture and logging.

We can do better, much better! Lā Ho‘oulu Pae Moku – ReTree Hawaii – is a campaign to plant trees (and other plants) in every region of every populated Hawaiian island on October 30, 2020. Find how how you can be part of the solution:

https://retree-hawaii.org