DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
PETER T. YOUNG, CHAIRPERSON
Phone: (808) 587-0401
Fax: (808) 587-0390
For Immediate Release:
DLNR Trails And Access Manager Irving Kawashima
HILO — Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Na Ala Hele trails program manager, Irving Kawashima, has been selected to be a recipient of the 2006 Coalition of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) national achievement award.
Kawashima will be one of nine national honorees in an awards ceremony to be held in Washington D.C. on June 14, 2006.
DLNR receives over $600,000 in federal RTP funds. A percentage is directed towards motorized recreational use through DLNR’s Trail and Access Program, commonly referred to as Na Ala Hele.
Kawashima, with considerable support from off-highway vehicle users on the Big Island, was responsible for the development and management of the Upper Waiakea ATV/Dirt Bike Park in the Waiakea state forest reserve.
The Waiakea site was one of nine winning projects selected for most innovative and effective use of the federal RTP funds, in the construction and design/long distance trail category.
Kawashima was nominated for the RTP national achievement award by the American Motorcyclist Association on behalf of Na Ala Hele.
"I commend Irv Kawashima and the local Big Island riders who helped DLNR create an award-winning off road riding area," said Peter Young, DLNR chairperson.
"The Waiakea off road riding area represents a collaboration between DLNR and local enthusiasts to identify and develop an area that is environmentally and socially appropriate for off road use."
"DLNR is working to identify suitable public and private land for authorized off road use. We want to provide these recreational opportunities, and at the same time protect areas from negative impacts,” Young said.
"DLNR is working with O‘ahu and Maui enthusiasts to develop off road riding areas away from forested watersheds, through collaborative partnerships for design and management -- and utilizing federal funds available to DLNR through our trails program."
The Upper Waiakea ATV/Dirt Bike Park is the first of its kind in Hawaii – an off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding area in a Hawaii state forest reserve.
Unlike mainland forests, Hawaii forest reserves are managed primarily for their watershed value, with multi-use recreation limited to single track trail and four-wheel drive access roads.
Hawaii forests tend to have pervasive and year round growth of lush tropical vegetation on frequently occurring steep slopes and shallow tropical soils. These environmental conditions require that careful evaluation must occur prior to developing an area for OHV use.
As the state’s Na Ala Hele Big Island Trails and Access Specialist, Kawashima has worked with a local cadre of off road enthusiasts to create a durable and creative riding area in a planted forest that will be subject to harvest at some point in the future.
Using the existing grid line/access routes created when the trees were planted, Kawashima and the riders mapped out and then cleared the grid lines to establish the trail. The trail is an irregular loop for ATV’s and off-road motorcycles.
The Waiakea trail provides 22 miles of authorized off road use on public land where none existed before. Kawashima and the OHV users also coordinated with the local pig hunters who use the area to minimize conflict between the two user groups.
Future plans include the establishment of a camping area and comfort stations, and coordinating with the private company that will conduct the timber harvest via the grid line access routes.
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