Few things are quite so delightful as being out in the solid darkness of night and hearing the roar of an approaching rain shower drumming on the leaves, coming closer and closer, growing louder and louder, until finally it arrives in an embrace of cool moistness and an explosion of sound on the roof of the porch where I’m safely sheltered.
By morning the rain had departed and the sky had shed most of its clouds and all the celestial bodies save for brilliant Jupiter and the moon, waning now, but still round and white, the two of them traveling companionably toward the mountains.
Travels to Kalalau soon will be halted for at least two months, and yesterday’s post about the planned “rockfall mitigation” work there, which will now involve the use of a Bobcat, prompted this email from a reader:
Bobcats aren't native to the Hawaiian natural environment.
I'm still in awe at the whole concept of geoengineering the Kalalau landscape.
It's a natural area. One of the features of a natural area is natural hazards, along with its natural beauties, its remoteness, its requirements that a person rely on wits and experience.
How long before there's a safety line the length of the Kalalau trail, with a requirement that all hikers wear a helmet and harness, and clip in to the safety line?
Good question in these litigious days when KVB is promoting the "Island of Discovery" and the county and state are super paranoid about getting sued. For my part, I’m still in awe that there’s been so little public outcry about the Kalalau project, which strikes me as both unnecessary and inappropriate.
There was a bit of an outcry about the section of yesterday's post that touched on the construction work at Wailua, with one person asking:
so what permanent impact do you think will occur? you are the 'expert' you tell us what the impact will be.
I can’t say for certain, and neither can anyone else, since no EIS or AIS (Archaeological Inventory Survey) was done on the cumulative impacts of the myriad projects planned there. Instead, they were treated as separate initiatives.
What I can tell you is that when the construction barricades come down and the massive scale of the bridge work is revealed, it will dramatically change the look and feel of the area. It’s much like how building a turn lane through the center of Hanalei abruptly altered the character of that town.
And when four lanes of high-speed traffic and a bike path begin moving through the Wailua corridor, it’s going to feel – to some of us, anyway – like another little piece of Kauai has been killed. But hey, small price to pay to keep our beloved cars moving along, right? At least,until we get a tsunami or major rise in sea level or even more traffic.
Of course, not everyone cares. In commenting on what sort of impact the construction will have on Wailua, another reader opined:
Certainly no more then the tons of human waste that has been deposited out there.
That sort of sentiment is often voiced in discussions about development. It’s already been disturbed/trashed/impacted, some say, so what’s the big deal if we degrade it even more? I thought Kehau Kekua had a good answer for that. After Judge Watanabe refused to grant an injunction against the construction work, saying the Wailua area has long been impacted, Kehau responded, in an interview with me:
“We realize that, but now we’re at a place where as Native Hawaiians we can speak against it. What has happened in the past should not provide an excuse in this 21st Century when we have laws that are supposed to protect our iwi kupuna and our ancestors. But we’ll always be at a disadvantage fighting the fight in a Western system.
And that’s why the work at Wailua goes on.
Finally, if you’re interested in some other news, I’ve got a piece in Honolulu Weekly that sheds some light on how Mufi Hannemann dealt with the issue of homelessness and housing while serving as mayor of Honolulu and an article on depleted uranium at Civil Beat, which loads slowly. Even if you don’t subscribe to Civil Beat, you can get a daily guest pass for $1.49 and read anything on the site. It’s a wealth of information on many pertinent people and issues in Hawaii.