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Pololū Valley Trail Steward Program Hopes to Manage Visitor Impact

DLNR Pololu Valley Trail.jpg
State of Hawaiʻi, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Nā Ala Hele
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Hikers ascend the switch-back trail at Pololū Trail.

A new program funded by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority hopes to ease some popular trails — and some tension between residents and visitors.

The HTA is funding the Pololū Trail Steward Program, a pilot project in collaboration with Kupu, Nā Ala Hele Trails and Access Program, and local families in Pololū and the neighboring ahupuaʻa.

Pololū Valley was one of several hotspots community members and stakeholders identified as part of HTA’s Hawaii Island Destination Management Action Plan.

The goal is to hire four local stewards who would help with visitor management, safety and trail maintenance.

They also hope to prevent bad behavior from visitors.

“You know we’re especially interested in applicants who have a connection to Pololū and to the North Kohala area," Kawika Riley, senior director of external affairs at Kupu, said. "For us, this is of course, these are positions that are going to entail trail maintenance, data collection, safety, visitor management. But all of that is enhanced by you know lived experience and personal knowledge and connection to this area which is so special, so special to Hawaii.”

The pilot project is set to run from August through January 2022. More information about the jobs can be found at kupuhawaii.org.

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