Cleanup underway to remove 175 abandoned vehicles from remote Kanaio area of Maui
Approximately 175 abandoned derelict cars and trucks are being removed from a remote area of Kanaio on Maui over the next three weeks, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Seven workers from the DOFAW Maui Branch began towing cars and trucks, one at a time, up a steep dirt road on Monday. They managed to “stockpile” 25 of them in an empty area several miles beyond ʻUlupalakua Ranch, next to the highway to stage them for the tow trucks. Crews are using a front-end loader to both crush the cars and to load them onto the flatbeds.
“It’s the same trip the tow operators will make dozens of times until all of the vehicles are removed and transported to a salvage yard,” according to a DLNR press release.
Daniel Ornellas of the DLNR Land Division organized what department officials are calling the “great Kanaio car clean-up.” The effort is being done in coordination with the County of Maui, the Maui Police Department, a tow company, and personnel from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
“People have been abandoning vehicles in an area about ¼-mile off the pavement and it’s been happening for 6-7 years. We received multiple complaints from surrounding landowners. It’s going to take the better part of three weeks to get all the wrecks out of there,” said Ornellas in a department press release.
Shane De Mattos, a DOFAW wildlife biologist said that eventually the land covered in broken and inoperable cars and trucks is slated to be transferred from the DLNR Land Division to DOFAW. “We wanted to get it cleaned up as we begin to consider how to restore it for conservation purposes, which could include public hunting. Those decisions are down the road, but it’s good to see these eyesores removed to improve conditions for plants, wildlife, and the environment overall,” he said.
The removal project is expected to cost upwards of $300,000 and Maui County and the DLNR are taking steps to put in barriers to prevent more cars from ending up in the existing heap. De Mattos said, “Going forward if anyone abandons a vehicle here, we will take steps to identify the owners and hold them accountable.”