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Public-private partnership to restore historic Hawaii trail

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 5:04 a.m. HST, Jun 19, 2013

KAULUA-KONA » The National Park Service with the help of state and local partners will spend the summer restoring a historic Hawaii path.

West Hawaii Today reported that work will begin in about two weeks on Kiholo-Puako Trail, known as the "King's Trail."

The western Big Island trail is part of the 175-mile Ala Kahakai, or "trail by the sea." The trail linked communities, temples and fishing areas.

A 2006 earthquake damaged masonry causeways on the trail. Curbing along the side collapsed and made the trail vulnerable to erosion.

The project is in the Ala Kahakai National Historical Trail corridor within the Kiholo State Park Reserve. The park service will use $195,000 in cultural resource funds for the project.

Rick Gmirkin, an archaeologist for the trail, said the trail will honor and mimic its original style once work on it is completed.

Kuulei Keakealani, who is from the area near the trail, led a special ceremony to bless the start of the project. She said it's important that people return to the trails.

"By walking these trails, our footsteps will be felt, our voices heard," she said.

The work will be done by park service employees and volunteer stone masons.

Walter Wong, who is leading the crew, said traditional Hawaiian techniques, including setting and interlocking stones without using mortar, will be used.

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