Hawai‘i Trail Improvement Program Gets $530,000
The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority is providing $530,000 to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access System. The funding comes as many of Hawai‘i’s most popular trails are seeing a record number of hikers.
This is in addition to more than $540,000 HTA has provided for a wide range of DLNR initiatives and programs over the past year for a total of $1,071,390.
The funds are in support of the HTA strategy of informing and educating local residents and visitors on how to properly approach the environment and to support efforts to restore certain natural and cultural resources around the state.
Mike Millay, the Statewide Program Manager for Nā Ala Hele under the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife remarked, “Getting this level of funding from Hawai‘i Tourism was an unexpected surprise. This funding is earmarked for conducting a universal trail assessment of the state’s 128 sanctioned trails which cover 825 miles of recreational trails. This will allow us to gather data on how many people are regularly using specific trails and to identify trail maintenance and improvement issues we need to address for the safety and enjoyment of our wonderful trail system.”
Over the past year, HTA has funded numerous projects associated with the battle against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, including sophisticated aerial mapping of forests across the state and education and information products/projects to help inform people about how not to spread this devastating fungal disease. Hawai‘i Tourism also paid for the final production costs of the Mālama Hawai‘i public service announcement campaign. A series of seven 30-second PSAs are being shown on incoming flights to Hawai‘i on several air carriers and in more than 27,000 rooms around the state on closed-circuit TV systems.
Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, Hawai‘i Tourism’s Director of Cultural Affairs reiterated, “HTA has a strong and lasting commitment toward helping protect and preserve the very natural and cultural resources that bring millions of visitors to our shores each year. In addition to the trail assessment we’ll be working closely with the Nā Ala Hele system on a sign initiative to best inform trail users, as well as to help conduct clearing operations to improve safety conditions.”
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “The partnership we have with HTA is invaluable in providing additional resources to address some of the most pressing issues associated with people ‘loving Hawai‘i to death.’ We all understand the attraction people from across the globe have to this place we call home. With help from Hawai‘i Tourism and the many other partners DLNR regularly works with, our goal is to not only improve the quality of outdoor experiences for our visitors, but the quality of life for kama‘āina.”