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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 27, 2006

Maui L&P plans trail linking 5 beaches

By Christie Wilson
Advertiser Neighbor Island Editor


Send comments for Kapalua Coastal Trail draft environmental assessment by Dec. 26 to: Maui Land & Pineapple Co., 1000 Kapalua Drive, Lahaina, HI 96761; Maui Planning Department, 250 S. High St., Wailuku, HI 96793; consultant PBR Hawai'i, ASB Tower, 1001 Bishop St., Suite 650, Honolulu, HI 96813; and Office of Environmental Quality Control, 235 S. Beretania St., Suite 702, Honolulu, HI 96813.

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WAILUKU, Maui A 2.5-mile coastal trail planned by Maui Land & Pineapple Co. will link five of Maui's top beaches and enhance public access to popular snorkeling, surfing and fishing sites that are surrounded by a luxury resort.

The Kapalua Coastal Trail will stretch along the shoreline from Lower Honoapi'ilani Road in the company's Kapalua Resort to Honolua Bay. The project will cost an estimated $1.5 million, said development coordinator Yarrow Flower.

The coastal trail fits in with a new vision for the 23,000-acre master-planned resort community as a center of health and wellness activities and "walkable neighborhoods," Flower said. It will be part of a larger network of 75 miles of walking, mountain bike and equestrian trails to be built through ML&P lands reaching from the ocean to the upper elevations of the West Maui Mountains.

The trails will "connect existing neighborhoods and encourage more of a village lifestyle," she said.

The general public will benefit from increased shoreline access and the opportunity to visit "five world-class bays without getting in your car. (The trail) will tie into a system of parts of West Maui never before open to visitors and locals," she said.

Dale Bonar, executive director of the Maui Coastal Land Trust, said the Kapalua Coastal Trail is a good step toward protecting public access in an area of growing development.

"It's providing public access to these areas that could end up being blocked off if they were to be developed," Bonar said. "This is the type of thing the general public is going to benefit from forever."

The company must first obtain shoreline management area and conservation district use permits from the county and state, respectively. So far there has been no apparent opposition to the plans, although Flower said some Kapalua homeowners have expressed concern about how the trail might affect their privacy.

If the permit process goes smoothly, work could begin in early 2007, she said, with construction taking a year or so. Different surfaces will be used for different sections of the trail. For example, in more rugged areas such as Hawea Point a natural rough path will be maintained, while concrete will be used around the resorts.

At its west end, the trail will start at Kapalua Bay, previously named the best beach in America. It will run northeast to Oneloa Bay and D.T. Fleming Beach Park, also rated one of the top stretches of sand in the country. From there it will continue on to Mokule'ia Bay, locally known as Slaughterhouse Beach, and Honolua Bay, which are both part of a marine conservation district.

Three spur trails will bring the total trail length to 3.5 miles and allow users to detour off the main route to visit Hawea Point, a rocky fishing spot, and Namalu Bay, as well as a Hawaiian plant arboretum and the scenic Makaluapuna Point lava formation known as "Dragon's Teeth."

A draft environmental assessment is being prepared. ML&P said the project is not expected to have any significant negative impacts and that no environmental degradation is anticipated.

Reach Christie Wilson at cwilson@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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