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Dispute over Big Island beach access simmers

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Two landowners are butting heads with surfers and other beach users over access to Papaikou Mill Beach on the Big Island.

Beachgoers contend the owners of the old Papaikou sugar mill, Jim Waugh and Charlene Prickett, should deed or sell the trail to the county, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Surveyor and University of Hawaii oceanography lecturer Niels Christensen says maps going back to the late 1800s show the trail’s existence. He contends the owners eventually will close off access to make the beach private.

But Waugh and Prickett, who bought the land in 1995, say the sugar company kept the property closed for decades to preserve its rights. They say they allow beach access during the day, but are not legally obligated to do so.

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