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Website, bloggers urged to stop promoting Kamehame trail

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Citing hiker injuries, trespassing and vandalism, travel websites and bloggers are being asked to stop promoting Kamehame Ridge Trail, also known as Dead Man’s Catwalk and the Tom Tom Trail.

Kamehameha Schools, the Federal Aviation Administration, state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaiian Hang Gliding Association and others sent a letter on Friday asking travel websites and bloggers to stop promoting the Hawaii Kai hike.

"A rise in hiking accidents has elevated our urgency to act," the letter states. "Two days ago, a woman broke her ankle near the concrete slab known as the Dead Man’s Catwalk and was later rescued by emergency responders. Other reports of trespassers who lose footing, slip and get hurt are continuously being submitted as well. The area is not safe and is not a sanctioned hiking trail.

"We humbly ask you to cease the promotion of and/or remove any mention — past and present — relating to Kamehame Ridge as a hiking destination, immediately."

The land is owned by Kamehameha Schools and DHHL. The letter was signed by licensees that include Winners’ Camp, the Hawaiian Hang Gliding Association and the Kuewa Project.

In their letter, they said social media has resulted in "a surge in trespassing activity at Kamehame Ridge. We have grave concerns about the safety of those who unlawfully scale the gated entry. 

Also, an increased amount of vandalism to telecommunications equipment, structures and other privately owned property on site has been attributed to the rise in illegal foot traffic in the area — a result of online promotions."

The letter asks the websites and bloggers to provide "written confirmation of compliance to this request" within two weeks.

Without being specific, the authors promise to pursue "further recourse against your entity and administration" if they don’t provide written proof they have removed any mention of the hike.

Despite "No Trespassing" signs, Kamehameha Schools said the area has experienced graffiti, damage to security fencing, propane tanks and to antennas that the FAA uses to communicate with high-altitude aircraft.

"It’s not a safe place for hiking enthusiasts," Todd Gray, senior land operations manager at Kamehameha Schools, said in a statement. "Our tenants have seen a direct correlation between increased foot traffic and a surge in property damage. We intend to prosecute anyone found not complying with posted warning signs."

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