At the beach, saturated in shimmer intensified by the wind-roughened ripple of the sea’s surface, looking for glass glinting in white light low on the horizon and finding that today it was delivered in cubes, rectangles, squares, while on other days, all the glass that washes in is triangle-shaped, and still other days, a mix, and I wondered, was it a factor of sand, current, tide, or sheer coincidence, and was the same true at any other beach?
The fence went up at the Lepeuli Beach trailhead yesterday, blocking off the lateral access.
And the world did not end, even though Bruce Laymon had clearly tempted fate by installing it on May 21.
I didn’t know it was going to happen. I just happened to be in the neighborhood, meeting a friend who said, “I heard the fence went up this morning. I thought you might want to check it out.”
“I expected protests,” she said when we got there. “But there’s nothing.”
“Well, there’s not much anybody can do about it now, except cut it or climb it, and either way, they risk arrest.”
It’s a strong and serious fence, with barbed wire around the top and numerous red-lettered signs that proclaim PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESSPASSING.
I don’t like fences, especially near the beach.
Still, I totally understand why he did it. Keeping cattle in is only part of it. Quite frankly, it’s the only thing that would keep me, and everyone else who has ever used that path, out.
Besides, let’s not forget that there is, after all, another perfectly good access right there, and it had been freshly weed-whacked to make its presence quite clear.
“That’s it?” said my friend. “From what I’d heard, I thought you had to scale rocks, risk life and limb. It doesn’t look bad at all.”
“It's not,” I replied. “That’s been totally overblown. Most anyone could go down it.”
“Except, for some reason, the nudists,” she said.
Yes. Strange, that.
Later, when I got home, I found an email with photos that lateral access advocates had sent around, including one of three women, with the caption:
And red shirted Nyoc-Lan Pham who was on a family pilgimage.
Her husband died at Larsen's Beach 11 years ago.
She wanted to see the beach "and touch the water" where her husband died..
Unfortunately a head injury a couple of years ago has left her weak.
Her family tried to lead her down the steep trail (one in front, one behind) but she couldn't make it.
I wonder, did those who heard her story suggest she call Bruce? Because I’m pretty sure he would have been happy to drive her. And did her husband drown because the lateral trail made it oh so very easy to access the dangerous waters of that beautiful beach?
I know that some are very worked up about the fence. I’m not one of them, primarily because we still have an access. Anyway, I believe it’s going to be better for the albatross and shearwaters, because it encloses the area under the ironwoods where they like to nest. And if it does, indeed, discourage the hordes, then it will also help resting seals and nesting turtles, which benefit from fewer humans in their midst.
I am, however, very interested in the question of whether the trail it blocks is a traditional ala loa — an issue that will be decided by the courts, and not Bruce Laymon’s fence or those who prefer to sunbathe in the nude — an activity I do not, btw, in any way oppose. I just never could understand why they couldn't use the public trail.
At the moment, I’m more concerned about the future of the ag lands that front and surround that still wild beach — lands that are owned by the nonprofit Waioli Corp., which so far has resisted pressure to sell; Falko Partners, whose future development plans can be guessed, and Tom McCloskey, who currently has a big chunk on the market at a price that precludes anyone growing something legal.
Do we really want our coastline to be Luxeville all the way from Aliomanu to Ke`e? Because, you know, that’s exactly where we’re heading.