Tis the season for nesting turtles, and I spotted these mama tracks on a windward beach at low tide. Was reading about how the young wait till everybody has hatched, then they dig out together. So many lessons for humans in nature.
At least some of us have learned that if you plant the beach, you're gonna mess up the natural movement of sand and also hinder access. Others are not so akamai, or do it intentionally because they want what they want, which is to create a vegetative barrier between us and them.
I write about this recurring problem, as well as other beach access issues on Kauai and Oahu, in the current issue of Honolulu Weekly. You can check it out here.
The state is slowing cracking down on the sand swipers who are landscaping the public beach, and as these before and after photos, taken at high tide at Kahala, on Oahu, show, it makes a big difference.
I was told, in researching this story, the state recently did a similar survey at Wainiha-Haena, where some of the most egregious offenders have been busily planting for a decade now. The state has sent out compliance notices, so I can't wait to see this kind of stuff cleared out.
The top photo is Pierce Brosnan's place. The bottom photo shows vegetation in the Wainiha subdivision (where Joe Brescia has his house) that has been planted out beyond the certified shoreline, as evidenced by the survey stake.
I'm sure there are other places where vegetation is seriously encroaching, with Wanini and Aliomanu immediately coming to mind.
We don't, however, have to wait for either the state or landowners to get on the stick. As Sam Lemmo of the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands notes: “It’s not illegal to trim and prune stuff.”
A good rule of thumb: the public beach extends to the highest seasonal wash of the waves, so if the water is lapping into the vege, it shouldn't be there.
In working on this story, I realized that if it weren't for people like Caren Diamond, Lucinda Pyles (the Oahu version of Caren), Mina Morita, Harold Bronstein and a few key others, this problem would not have been addressed. We all owe them a super-sized mahalo for devoting countless hours of their lives to protecting our beaches.
As Margaret Mead said: "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has."