Four Men Cited for Entering Closed Mānoa Falls Trail
Four men were cited for entering the closed Mānoa Falls Trail, which was closed late Friday after a rock slide covered an unsanctioned trail and the nearby ʻAihualama Trail, which is also closed. A day earlier, a team from the Nā Ala Hele Trails and Access Program had been standing at the exact same spot.
Enforcement officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources spent Sunday educating more than 100 people about the closure.
By early afternoon, three men were issued citations for entering the closed trail. Officers report seeing the suspects going under clearly visible yellow “police” tape and past numerous closed signs. They allegedly attempted to flee when approached by the DOCARE officers.
Cited were: 35-year-old Vasily Shedalin from Russia, 31-year-old Martin Bessner from Denmark and 33-year-old Richard Peschke from Germany. Also on Sunday police issued a citation to 42-year-old Shibo Ou of China who was observed trying to duck under police tape.
State specialists and a private engineering firm are expected to begin the process of assessing the rock slide and future hazards today. The recommendations from these experts will figure greatly in the decision of when to reopen the Mānoa Falls and ʻAihualama trails.
DOCARE Chief Robert Farrell reminds anyone thinking about entering into a closed area, “You put your own life at risk and those of emergency first responders. Rockfalls aren’t on a clock. They strike with no warning and it’s pretty insensitive of people not to consider the danger they put their potential rescuers in.”
Aaron Lowe of Nā Ala Hele said, “People really need to take these closures seriously. Lives have been lost in the past when people enter into areas that were closed for the sole purpose of protecting them.”