Complaints spur
Na Pali spruce-up

LIHUE » The most famous hiking trail along Kauai's famed Na Pali coast has gotten a cleanup after complaints of treacherous conditions, overgrowth and washed-out sections along the path above the ocean.

Hikers are lauding the improvements.

Natalie Boca took two different hikes this month, two weeks apart, along the Kalalau Trail, which begins at Haena State Park and the end of the highway along Kauai's North Shore.

"They really made a big difference," Boca said. "It was nothing like how it was two weeks ago. It was so nice. I didn't even have to worry."

Before, "you really had to be careful," she said. "It was slick, really dangerous" between the seven- and eight-mile markers on the trail.

A crew of five volunteers from Hunakai Plantation recently cleaned up a particularly difficult stretch of the trail, camping out overnight with four state workers.

"We were just trying to help out," said Benjy Garfinkle, owner of the land management company Hunakai Plantation, who donated his workers' time to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. "If I can help, I'm happy to donate the money, energy and time. It's a national treasure."

The state "has been pretty receptive and responsive to me," he said. "We were pretty psyched to pull it off."

State officials are excited about a partnership with Garfinkle's company.

"We consider this an example of concerned citizens stepping up to manage Hawaii's valuable resources," said Peter Young, chairman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Next year, Garfinkle hopes to get his carpenters to build a platform for a portable bathroom at remote Milolii Beach, an area that has been closed to camping for the past few years because of the lack of bathroom facilities.

Garfinkle said he hopes he can help reopen a beautiful part of the state park by donating the carpenters' work hours and perhaps the helicopter travel.

"We worked on it (with state officials) and got it approved," he said. "I would like to do it a few times a year."



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