One way that the Sierra Club of Hawai‘i is commemorating our 50th Anniversary is by hosting a series of “victory hikes” throughout the state, at least one per quarter by each group. This second quarter, the O‘ahu Group held its victory hike to Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail. The hike was led by Jean Fujikawa, an Outings leader of ten years who also works for the O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee, and guest speaker Reese Liggett, a former Outings Committee Chair and hike leader.
During our hike, Reese revealed how in 1995-1998 the Sierra Club championed efforts at the ‘Āina Haina Neighborhood Board, State Board of Land and Natural Resources, and Honolulu City Council to establish public access rules for the Wiliwilinui Ridge trail. Reese was the Outings Chair who helped coordinate this three-year effort, which resulted in the March 4,1998 Bureau of Conveyances Document No. 98-028929 issued by the City and signed by Mayor Jeremy Harris. This document prohibits the Waialae Iki V Community Association from requesting identification of hikers who want to enter the gated community to access Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail in the State’s Conservation District. Hikers driving through the security gate can now mention the state’s public access easement for the Ridge Trail and will be allowed to drive to the trailhead without having their ID’s scanned into the Waialae Iki V system.
Since 1998, O‘ahu Group Outings continues to lead hikes and service projects that improve the safety and accessibility of this trail. Outings leader Randy Ching pointed out the sections of trail that he and Ed Mersino maintained by installing new steps and water diversions. Some of the older steps were still painted with the “Sierra Club Hawai‘i Chapter” name, demonstrating how our work has stood the testament of time and thousands of hikers on this popular East O‘ahu trail.
Also joining the hike were members of the O‘ahu Group’s Executive Committee and several participants who were joining the Sierra Club for their very first hike. Our group of ten enjoyed a sunny day learning about this victory hike, discovering native and edible plants, and hiking into the clouds at the top of the ridge.
We encourage you to attend one or more of our victory hikes to join in our 50th anniversary celebration and learn about the club’s efforts and successes in building, protecting, preserving and improving special areas throughout the State. Our 3rd quarter victory hikes are published in our Mālama Newsletters and the online calendar – we hope to see you on the trails!