Letters, Correspondence, Community Input

From: Gillian Culff
Date: Sep 24, 2007
To: Councilman Pete Hoffman

Dear Councilman Hoffman,
    I am utterly heartsick over the news that the bulldozing of the Mud Lane trail has begun. Why was there no public meeting? Why was this not publicized? Why were citizens not offered the opportunity to respond?
    My family has enjoyed walking that trail since we moved to Waimea, 12 years ago. My children were raised on hikes in the "special tree place" as my then-two year-old son (now about to become a teenager) dubbed the Mud Lane forest. When my oldest son was a toddler, we'd slowly walk the trail from the road to the ginger and back; at his pace, this meant hours of fun. He'd poke his stick into an old, rotting tree, watching wood lice and other insects hurry out. We'd stop and listen to the sound of the wind in the trees and pick up red waiwi berries from the ground.
    More recently, my children enjoyed communing with the goats on the other side of the fence as we made our way down through the trees and out along the cane roads for a long family hike.
    Waimea's trails are fast disappearing. For years, our family also enjoyed the hike along White Trail to the Waipi'o Valley rim and up to the reservoir behind town to the back end of that same trail. We have a friend who proposed to his bride on that trail. One by one, public access to these treasures has been closed in the name of private land interests, legal issues and "progress."
    Surely, our town is big enough to allow room for some new housing without destroying what few natural spaces we have left. Surely the people who move into these houses would enjoy easy access to this beautiful trail. Surely, we can provide access to people's homes without the destruction of the natural beauty that makes Waimea such a special place to live.
    As the elected representative of the people of Waimea, I urge you to put an immediate stop to the bulldozing of our beautiful trail.
    Gillian Culff

From: Judy Ellis
Date: Sep 21, 2007
Subject: discussion at Mud Lane meeting

This is what I think I said:

1) It is in the  best interest of our  Waimea community to protect and preserve our historic trails and livestock corridors.

2) A good trail system must be a contiguous network, and to lose an important segment as Mud Lane as a connecting segment is detrimental to building a network of public trails and pathways for recreation, hunting, cultural access, as well as historic  preservation.

3)Trails connect us all and shared trails build a community.

Judy Ellis
Waimea Equestrian Trails Association

From: Melanie A. Chinen, Administrator Historic Preservation Division, State DLNR
Sep 20, 2007
To: County of Hawai'i Department of Public Works
Subject: Chapter 6E Historic Preservation Review for Mud Lane Road


From: Hank Hilliard
Date: Sep 19, 2007
At: Mud Lane meeting

The trail is used by hundreds of people on a regular basis and is a draw for tourists who come here just to use the trail.

It is listed in numerous hiking and biking guides. We (Hank and Tana)  reopened the trail in the 70's. It had been used by many others for many years but after a period of disuse had become overgrown.

Since we did not want to cut down any  trees, we just followed the path of least resistance and trimmed branches and underbrush which led to the winding and intriguing nature of the path.

From: Tana Hilliard
Date: Sep 19, 2007
At: Mud Lane meeting

Mud Lane is the only public trail left in Waimea. It has been enjoyed by families and individuals for multi-purpose use for many years. We need more trails, not fewer. How can we prevent the desecration of our beautiful area from continuing?  

From: Jamie Dowsett
Date: Sep 19, 2007
At: Mud Lane meeting

Object to developers.  Canít believe State or County can sell that property to somebody for development.   Key is to keep trees for moisture. What bothers him most is nobody cares about the land, they just care about making money. Need to take care of the land or weíll all perish. People come for open land and because itís so beautiful.  Then they build. Hard to eat a house-need to keep our agriculture.

From: Cyndee Irvine
Date: Sep 17, 2007
Subject: Re: Mud Lane Trail Community Meeting
To: Judy Hiller

Hi Judy,

[...] I have hiked that trail for over 20 years.  From Mud lane to my house on Kawaihae road is approx 6 hours and up until the last couple of years I have hiked it often each year.  Years ago  I was asked to model for a some print ads so and I took this professional photographer from the east coast  back there for a "different view" of Hawaii.  We hauled in bikes and computers and equipment and the pictures were seen in many magazines.  I have watched the "health" of the trail as well as the trailside plants and pig damage in the rainforest.   I have walked thru this region so many times I can close my eyes and see some of the different terrains this trail offers.   

1.  This is a historic and environmentally sensitive trail as it goes where one can assess the flora and fauna of the mountain, rainforest, cliffs and  and water including the invasive plants. 

2.  If that trail is not kept up and protected we have no way of know what is happening in our  watershed if we can not go there and check on it as well as care for it.

3.  The beauty and views from that trail are some of the most scenic on our island not to mention on of the best field trips for our children.  I remember my twins going to Parker School and each year there was a field trip to the Mud lane trail. 

4.  The endemic plants should be found and protected there as well as the bamboo needs to be controlled as well as any other invasive plants.   The little rivers need to be cleared from debris and since the people of Waimea and the surrounding areas have a great love for their historic trails this should be counted as one also. 

[...] Aloha,

Cyndee Irvine

From: Harry Kim [mailto:cohmayor@co.hawaii.hi.us]
Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2007 4:21 PM
To: Kathrin 'Chacha' Kohler
Subject: Re: Mud Lane Trail

Dear Ms. Kohler,

There is no denying the beauty of Mud Lane.  For your information, the recent paving by the County was done after a meeting with the Mud Lane community where the overwhelming majority of people who use Mud Lane to get to their homes supported the paving of the road.

A stop work order for further work has been issued for now.  If the work is allowed to proceed in the future, for your information there will be no further paving.  The remainder of the work will be gravel, and no specimen trees will be removed.  I do not know what will happen with this further work, but if there are historical or archaeological features found, that will I am sure impact future improvements on the road.


Harry Kim

Subject: Mud lane
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2007 in West Hawaii Today

How come the SHPD administrative assistant is reviewing the Mud Lane archeological study and rendering an opinion to the public? Where are the reviews and opinions from SHPD professionals like the cultural historian and archeologist? advertisement I encourage everyone who feels strongly about historic preservation to write to Melanie Chinen, SHPD administrator, and demand that she send both an archeologist and a cultural historian to the Mud Lane trail for a site visit ASAP. The archeologist and cultural historian are the ones who should be reviewing and accepting the reports and rendering the final opinions/decisions, not Ms. Chinen (she is not an archeologist or a cultural historian) or her office staff. Approving projects using biased and/or faulty archeology reports just like SHPD did with Paul Rosenthal's shoddy archeology work on the Lahaina Bypass project on Maui should not be tolerated. Enough with SHPD's underhanded style of fast tracking projects that favor developers.

Josephine Keliipio