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Oahu pillbox trail reopens after closing for repairs

August 21, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — A popular Oahu trail that takes hikers up a ridge to World War II-era pillboxes has reopened after closing for repairs this summer.

The Kaiwa Ridge Trail, commonly known as the Lanikai Pillbox trail, reopened Monday following the June closure to renovate the military structures.

Work on the pillboxes involved concrete repair and replacement of rusted steel roof supports, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said. Roof sealant was applied, and new steel flange roof supports were installed. The nearly $250,000 repairs aim to help prevent additional weathering on the structures.

The structures were coast artillery stations that functioned to direct gun batteries during World War II, according to the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Lanikai residents told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that they have enjoyed the two-month break from sunup to sundown noise from hikers. The trail has drawn more visitors in recent years, gaining popularity through social media.

Resident Marya Grambs said she has been awakened by cars and the loud talking of hikers hitting the trail early. As the trail closed, the area has been “very peaceful and very pleasant,” she said.

“I just hope when the pillbox (trail) reopens there will be some way to manage the numbers of people that go,” Grambs told the newspaper before the reopening. “I hope they figure out a way so it’s not unlimited access 24 hours a day.”

The state division has hired planning consultant PBR Hawaii to develop a management plan to improve the trail while reducing its impacts on the environment and the community. The recent repairs were completed outside that plan.

“We have to have some sort of management because at some point, we’re just inundated with people, cars, trash, graffiti,” resident Thomas Cestare said.

The state is planning to close the trail again for a day next month so crews can remove debris from the trail’s end.

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