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Kokonut Koalition launches effort to save Koko Crater stairs

  • NINA WU / NWU@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The Kokonut Koalition has launched a GoFundMe campaign to stabilize the Koko Crater trail in partnership wiht the City and County of Honolulu, which would include the installation of safety enhancements at the trestle, pictured here.

The Kokonut Koalition, the community group advocating for maintenance and repairs to Koko Crater stairs in Hawaii Kai, has launched a GoFundMe campaign, with the goal of raising $10,000.

The funds will be used to pay for temporary repairs to stabilize the trail in partnership with the City and County of Honolulu, the group said, as well as start-up expenses to establish the Kokonut Koalition as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The long-term goal is to completely rebuild the stairs.

“The Stairs are now at what we consider to be, a tipping point,” the group said in the campaign. “Erosion has undermined the tramway to the extent that one major tropical storm or hurricane could do enough significant damage to make it unusable. On a busy day, well over a thousand people from all walks of life and many international origins climb the Koko Crater Stairs. It has become a must-do event for our adventurous visitors.”

Yet the stairs exist in a “state of benign neglect,” said the group, which in late August met with the city Department of Parks and Recreation to discuss possible solutions, as reported earlier in the Star-Advertiser. Another meeting with the city’s Committee on Parks, Community and Customer Service went well earlier this week.

For “kokonuts,” the stairs, which are the remnants of an abandoned tramway installed by the U.S. military during World War II, are a regular workout that some have been hiking for more than 20 years. They want the trail to remain open to the public.

The campaign points to the rehabilitation of the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs as a model of how a rails-to-trail project can be done.

“We feel a deep attachment to this trail and passionately believe that it deserves better treatment than it has received,” the group said.

Some immediate measures the group would like to take include picking up trash, stabilizing the remaining cross ties as well as “ad hoc work done by volunteers,” installing safety enhancements at the midway trestle and water diverters and other measures to help control erosion.

As of Thursday morning, the group had raised $1,965 in two weeks.

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