KULA, MAUI – Yesterday evening, June 11, while returning to station from a previous lost hiker call, a Kula fire crew assisted in locating another group of overdue hikers at Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area in Kula. The are was well-trekked on the King Kamehameha Day holiday.
Kula firefighters were driving out of the recreation area when they were approached at 6:05 p.m., by a woman that said her husband and two children were overdue. She tried contacting them by phone but they weren’t answering. She had been driving around looking for them for a couple of hours and was worried because they weren’t answering her phone calls.
Firefighters spoke with hunters in the area that reported hearing someone calling out in the woods, but they could not find them. The fire department’s Air 1 helicopter with a rescue crew aboard were called in to locate the party before darkness fell.
Air 1 located the 44-year-old man and two sons aged 6 and 8, along with their dog on a boundary trail leading to Kula crews on the ground. By 7:21 p.m., Kula firefighters had met up with the party and walked them out to the road just before dark. The family was caught in a heavy down-pour and lost their direction. Their phone got wet and wouldn’t work. The family and their dog were uninjured and are all Maui residents.
In the first lost hiker call that Kula firefighters responded to, two Maui women, aged 32 and 34, called for help after getting lost in the forest at Polipoli Springs State Recreation Area. When crews arrived at the Polipoli campground, the women were back at their car and had walked out on their own.
A cyclist visiting from Seattle became lost and disoriented during a solo descent along Skyline Trail at Polipoli State Park last night. Maui Firefighters from Kula and Air-1 Rescue 10 were alerted around 4:27 p.m.. The engine company members conducted the ground search with Air-1 scouring the area until darkness made further searching hazardous.
Around 7:30 Thursday night, ground crews made voice contact with the man. He was located within the hour. Crews escorted the man back to Polipoli around 9 p.m. He was uninjured and did not require any medical attention. Since the story had a happy ending, many are wondering why a Seattle visitor would be on a late-day solo bike trek while the Seahawks were trouncing the Green Bay Packers.
HONOLULU – Following assessments in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has reopened the remainder of its state-managed forest lands and state parks on all islands – with a few exceptions pending removal and clearing of downed trees.
Still closed until further notice are: the Kula Forest Reserve (and Polipoli State Park) and all trails within the forest reserve on Maui. Damage assessment is taking place, and removal and clearing of downed trees from interior roads is expected to take several weeks.
Also remaining closed until further notice on the Big Island are Lava Tree State Recreation Area, MacKenzie State Park and the left side (shorter trail) of Akaka Falls loop trail, which requires repairs to railings. However, the right loop portion of the Akaka Falls State Park is open.
“We thank the public for their cooperation with area closures for safety during the storm,” said Lisa Hadway, Division of Forestry and Wildlife administrator. “Fortunately most of our reserves, natural areas, sanctuaries are in pretty good shape.”
Camping permits are once again being issued for state park and forest camping areas. Refunds will be issued to persons who paid for permits but were not able to use them due to weather-related closures.
“The department still cautions forest reserve users that some roads, trails and areas may be obstructed due to fallen trees and debris, and that delays may be expected in areas where crews continue to work to clear trees and debris from forest roads,” Hadway added. “Our Big Island staff continue to support Hawaii County efforts to assist the Puna community with downed tree removals and clearings.”
HONOLULU – The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announces the following closures of state park and forest areas over the weekend as a safety precaution due to the anticipated arrival of a tropical weather system that may bring heavy rains and possible flash flooding to the island chain. Based upon the latest advisory from the National Weather Service, between 5 to 10 and even up to 12 inches of rain may be expected in some areas.
Maui: The Divisions of Forestry and Wildlife and State Parks will close the Makawao Forest Reserve and Kula Forest Reserve (including Polipoli Spring State Park) effective noon tomorrow (Sunday, July 20). DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) will assist forestry staff to check the areas and notify users, place signs, and lock gates. Staff will conduct an assessment on Monday morning to determine whether those areas are safe to reopen.
Hawaii island: The Division of Forestry and Wildlife will close the Muliwai trail and Waimanu valley campground today for the weekend, in the interest of public safety, since the trail crosses several streams that may be subject to flash flooding. Campers holding permits for Waimanu campground are being notified. Depending on trail conditions, it should reopen on Tuesday, July 22. The Division of State Parks will keep all Hawaii parks open.
Kauai: DLNR will be monitoring the weather and is advising the public that the Kalalau trail may be closed if weather conditions warrant. Kayakers on the Wailua River are advised to be aware of the potential for rising waters and debris in the stream.
At this time no other park or forest trail areas are closed on Oahu, Molokai, Maui or Kauai. However areas may be closed with little notice, for public safety, if weather conditions necessitate.
DLNR reminds the public to listen to weather forecasts, advisories or warnings, and avoid going on hiking trails or crossing flooding streams which may be subject to flash floods and rising waters. When in doubt, don’t go out.
Three hunters spent a chilly night in Upcountry Maui. At 9:08 p.m., Maui Fire Department firefighters along with Makawao Rescue 10 personnel were dispatched to Polipoli for three hunters that were reported lost on the trail.
Three local males, ages 40, 27, and 21, got disoriented and lost their way due to fog and darkness. The hunters were finally located at 2 a.m. this morning on the Waiakoa Loop Trail. They were in good health and made it safely out to the trail head by 3 a.m. No injuries reported and no medical attention required.
DOFAW (Department of Forestry and Wildlife) personnel also assisted with this incident.
KAHULUI — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) yesterday reopened the Kula Forest Reserve, Waipoli Road and Polipoli Spring State Park after the forest reserve access road was cleared of fallen trees.
Although the road is passable and is open to the public, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) noted that all trails in the Kula Forest Reserve and Polipoli State Park will remain closed until further notice due to safety concerns involving fallen trees and debris.
Crews are surveying to determine the amount of the debris and work required to clear the trails. The trails will be reopened, one by one, as soon as each one is cleared.
“We appreciate the public’s cooperation and understanding so that our crews can expedite the removal of any downed or weakened trees in the interest of public safety,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.
After four days, the forest fire in the Makawao Forest Reserve that burned ten acres has been extinguished and the Forest Reserve which has been closed since then will be reopened tomorrow, Friday, June 22, 2012.
Chair Aila added: “This summer, we are asking everyone to be conscious of steps they can take to help protect our forest and wild areas by practicing fire safety. Be sure to extinguish cigarettes, use camping stoves properly and avoid making ground fires. Report any sign of a fire start promptly.”
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