Monday, May 24, 1999


Courtesy photo
The Friends of Nuuanu Reservoir hope to preserve the forested
state land while opening it to hikers as well as hunters.

Park proposed
for Nuuanu Reservoir

A community group urges
recognition and preservation of
the historic, 'pristine' land

By Craig Gima


When Bruce Anderson was growing up in Nuuanu, the forest in the back of the valley near the reservoir was his playground.

Decades later, Anderson is hoping that others will get a chance to experience the valley's beauty and history.

Anderson, who is working on the project separately from his job as state health director, has joined community members in Nuuanu to form a nonprofit group called the Friends of Nuuanu Reservoir. The group hopes the area around the reservoir can be turned into a recreation area or park.

"It's a forest reserve and one of the prettiest forested areas I've ever been in," Anderson said.

"We don't want to make this a city park. As much as possible, we want to keep the area in its natural state."

The dam that created the reservoir is no longer used for drinking water. While the Board of Water Supply controls the dam and the reservoir, the land around it is administered by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The reservoir is just off Pali Highway, below the Pali Lookout. It is not visible from the highway and is opened occasionally for catfish fishing.

Anderson sees the area being opened up for other limited uses such as camping, hiking and boating.

"It's so pristine that we're very concerned about impact," he said.

"I don't think we're talking about an intensive, high-density, high-impact park," said Michael Chu, another member of the group.

"We're not talking about Ala Moana Beach Park. We're not looking at soccer fields. We're looking at a more natural use."

But before plans for the recreation area can proceed, there are a some problems that have to be overcome, including liability, jurisdiction and money.

"There are a number of issues that have to be worked on," said city Councilman Jon Yoshimura, who represents the area.

Anderson said $250,000 of city money has been appropriated for early planning work, a first step in the process to create a recreation area.

"We'll see if we can put in some trails in the next six months.

"One concern we have is how hikers can co-exist with pig hunters. Our intent is not to displace the pig hunters," Anderson said.

He hopes one of the first trails will be to Lulumahu Falls, about a half-hour walk from the reservoir. There are also historic sites in the valley where the Battle of Nuuanu was fought.

Yoshimura said the group is trying to develop a community consensus on the future of the reservoir area. He said the idea of a park came out of the Neighborhood Board and has gained support through the mayor's "visioning" process.

Chu said that while it may take time to work out problems in increasing public access to the area, he hopes it can happen soon.

"Our intent is not to have an analysis/ paralysis process in which it takes 20 to 30 years to happen," he said.

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