By Nina Wu
More than 100 volunteers joined The Trust for Public Land for its community workday in Moanalua Valley on Saturday.
They cleared trails of leaves, branches and muddy debris strewn by recent high winds and rain, spread gravel along trail paths and painted over graffiti on stone bridges. It was all a part of "A Day on the Land," an effort to preserve an important, natural habitat with a rich, cultural heritage.
Volunteers braved both humidity and mosquitoes during their efforts Saturday.
The work day was sponsored by companies including Alaska Airlines, Alexander & Baldwin, Central Pacific Bank, First Insurance Co. of Hawaii, the Hawaiian Electric Co., HMSA, Makai Ocean Engineering, Servco Foundation and Title Guaranty.
HECO brought about 50 volunteers, some of whom brought their families, to the community work day. It was an opportunity to work side-by-side with the community and hike into areas of Moanalua Valley that are rarely accessible to the public, said HECO's director of education and consumer affairs Ka‘iulani de Silva.
Moanalua Valley is one of the last, truly open spaces in urban Honolulu (which narrowly escaped becoming a potential corridor for the H-3 freeway as well as residential development). It's home to five distinct forest types and more than nine miles of streams. The valley is a critical habitat for endangered plants and animals, including the elepaio, and home to cultural important sites including a famed pohaku (stone) carved with petroglyphs of winged warriors.
The Trust for Public Land purchased Moanalua Valley in 2007 and transferred it to the state's Forest Reserve system where it will be protected in perpetuity.