Kahakapao Recreational Area Grand Opening
Source: Hawaii DLNR Facebook Page
Mountain biking enthusiasts now have new trails in the Makawao State Forest Reserve to enjoy. As a response to the increased popularity of trail activities, today the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife/Na Ala Hele Trails & Access Program opened the Kahakapao Recreational Area (KRA). Na Ala Hele is tasked with creating and maintaining trail systems on both private and state-owned lands, such as in State Forest Reserves.
In the Makawao Forest Reserve the Kahakapao Loop Trail was constructed in 2003. It was constructed to provide a relatively level pathway for use by beginning to intermediate level recreational users, including hikers, bicyclists and equestrian users, while at the same time providing increased security to the County Water Treatment Facility. Since then several illegal mountain bike trails were built in the Reserve. This prompted Na Ala Hele to build a trail system that met or exceeded standards for bike trails. The new day-use only system contains more than ten miles of trails and incorporates two of the illegal “social” trails. Other illegal trails were rehabilitated and removed.
Torrie Nohara, the Na Ala Hele trails and access specialist on Maui explains, “The goal of the Kahakapao Recreational Area is to provide an extended hiking, equestrian, and bicycle experience, while establishing a practice bicycle area for youth and beginner riders, a gravity/flow trail experience for beginning to experienced riders, a pump track experience for all interested riders, and a skills practice areas for experienced riders to increase their riding abilities.” The beginner practice area is known as the ‘Akahi akahi (Novice) Skills Area and will meet the rapidly growing needs of riders by supplying an exciting, innovative course that is both safe and sustainable. This area will provide a place to develop and promote basic bike handling skills while teaching balance and technical handling skills, allowing for a safer riding experience. Located near the upper parking area this skills area includes rollers, kicker tabletops, taco berms, pre-fabricated ramps, ladders, bridges, and other features to create a variety of different ramps and features.
The gravity/flow trail, or the Pineapple Express, provides riders the option of choosing from two or more different lines; a continuous straight line for beginners, or a turning line for the more advanced riders. Pre-fabricated features also exist on this fast moving roller-coaster of a ride. The pump track, or Pauma Tracks, appeal to all level of bicycle riders.
The Akamai Skills area contains the advanced skills level riding features that allow more advanced riders to sharpen their skills. A viewing area to watch these advanced riders is next to the road.State capital improvement project (CIP) funds were used to build the new bike trails. Volunteer help was provided by the Maui Mountain Bike Coalition and the Na Ala Hele Maui Advisory Council. Volunteers worked hand-in-hand with the International Mountain Bike Association, the USFS Enterprise Team (Trails Unlimited), DOFAW staff and contractors to complete the project.
DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case said, “This KRA continues Na Ala Hele’s commitment to fulfill a recreational need for outdoor enthusiasts on Maui and across the state. This is a great example of government carrying out the wishes of the people; who in this case approached Na Ala Hele in 2011 asking for a safe, legal riding area for their keiki.”