Sunday, August 18, 2002

A group of off-road enthusiasts volunteered for several hours Aug. 4 to clean up the Kaena Point area. Volunteers turned over an abandoned car so it was easier to haul out.

Off-roaders clear
Kaena Point trash

4-wheel drive vehicle enthusiasts
show care for land where nature
and recreation meet

By Jason Seaborn

The state's recent land designation reclassification at Kaena Point served as a wake-up call to the off-road community to clean up their act.

Spurred by a growing negative perception about off-road vehicle users and the perceived danger of losing a favored locale for off-roading, a group of about 15 four-wheel drive enthusiasts armed with trash bags and gloves set to righting some of the wrongs perpetrated by what they believe are some bad apples in the off-roading community.

"We just wanted to come out here and clean things up as best we could," said Michael Benes, a Navy petty officer from Pearl Harbor, and one of the main organizers of the event earlier this month. "A lot of people have a negative opinion of off-roaders and think we just tear things up. We wanted to show that some of us care about cleaning up, too."

Benes participates on a Hawaii off-roaders' Web site message board, 4Bangers United (, that originally started the discussion that culminated in the clean-up effort.

"Maybe if we clean up where we play, then we can keep playing," added Ken Kelly, another Pearl Harbor petty officer.

Altogether, the group hauled out six to eight truck loads of garbage, according to Benes, including rusted pieces of metal, discarded tires, car batteries, and two and a half abandoned cars.

They hauled this trash to a designated spot near the first gate to Kaena Point, where state disposal services would later pick it up.

Recently, 360 acres of previously unencumbered land along the Waialua side of Kaena Point were reclassified to state park lands.

There are three types of state designation for lands at Kaena Point: unencumbered, state park reserve, and natural area reserve.

Each has a different set of rules governing land usage, with unencumbered being the least restricted, state park being more restricted, and natural area reserve being the most restricted.

Since the new designation of a portion of Kaena Point as state park lands, off-roaders, including dirt-bikers, are still allowed to drive on already established roads and trails.

But Gary Muniz, from the Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, wants to remind drivers that it is illegal to drive over vegetation or wildlife.

"In general, most people respect the area, but off-roading and dirt-biking over vegetation damages the whole area," Muniz said.

Muniz added that the enforcement division monitors the area by a combination of routine patrols and responses to complaints. Anyone witnessing illegal activities at Kaena Point is asked to call the police or the enforcement hotline at 587-0077.

Dan Quinn, administrator of the DLNR state parks, explained that the recent land designation change is an attempt to preserve the resources at Kaena Point that had become damaged while the land was designated as unencumbered lands.

"We need to work on controlling off-roading activity," Quinn said. "There are areas that are just trashed and need to be given a chance to do what they would naturally do without the impact of off-road vehicles."

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