By Susan Halas
After more than a decade of advocating for the Baldwin Avenue bike path, Warren McCord is cautiously optimistic it may soon become a reality.
McCord, a past president and board member of the Maui Outdoor Circle, is one of many who has worked to create safe and scenic recreational use of the winding road from the Makawao Cemetery to the Paia gym.
In fact, despite the many other calls on his time, he and other members of the Maui Outdoor Circle have spent hundreds of hours and attended dozens of meetings on the subject. Now, finally, he thinks the project may have turned the corner.
McCord recalled that when the bike path idea was first put forward, the original proposal called for cutting down the beautiful rainbow shower trees that line the road.
Many revisions later, those trees have protected status and the County of Maui has committed substantial funds to planning the route.
Recently, additional dollars have been allocated for the required environmental impact statement. Though right of way questions still remain to be worked out, McCord can envision multiple scenarios to achieve the goal.
He’s hopeful that Mauians will join with Outdoor Circle members to make this long sought improvement a reality.
Though he knows that some people have opposed the project in the past, he thinks the time has come when enough support can be mustered to make it clear in his words, “that this will benefit residents and visitors alike.”
“I know that Alan Arakawa supported it when he was on the council,” McCord said. “Now that he’s mayor I hope we can still count on him.” He urged Mauians and travelers who want to see better and safer use of the heavily used road to “drop the mayor a line and tell him how they feel.”
“I travel a lot,” McCord said. “When I go to Pacific Grove or Laguna Seca, or even along the lakefront in Chicago, I see how much a well thought out bike path can add to the enjoyment of the outdoors. I’ve been at this a long time, but I think the time is finally at hand.”
A Very Persistent Man
Most people wouldn’t have the persistence to keep at it through three administrations, endless changes in policy and personnel, but then, McCord, is not most people.
The former Air Force colonel and his family moved to Maui in 1968. In 1971 they opened the 25 acre Kula Botanical Garden, which has expanded and prospered over the years.
Above the garden he planted acres of Christmas trees. Every holiday these beauties are harvested to grace homes and businesses island-wide.
More recently he’s added estate grown coffee to the farm’s product line. Despite all these chores he still finds time to serve in as volunteer with a variety of community organizations.
Trees a High Priority
As a landscape architect (UC Berkeley 1957), preserving the beauty of Maui has always be a high priority for him.
With the Outdoor Circle he’s planted trees in public parks, along the highways and roadsides, and wrangled with those who would cut down or destroy them.
Most recently the group came to the aid of endangered monkey pod trees in Kihei. Through the intervention of concerned citizens, they were able to resolve a difficult situation and save the trees.
McCord reminded Mauian of the important role the Outdoor Circle plays here. The goals of the hundred year old organization are simple: “Keep Hawaii clean, green and beautiful.”
The Maui Outdoor Circle’s annual meeting is coming up on Saturday, May 19 at the Kahili Golf Course Restaurant in Waikapu beginning at 11 a.m.
He urged those who would like to know more about the organization or hear the talk by Art Medeiros on Hawaiian native habitat restoration to visit the Maui Outdoor Circle website or contact Maui president Elaine Malina at 879-9169.
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