Kolekole Walking Path officially reopens for limited use

| March 20, 2015 | 1 Comment
Sgt. Scott Cooper, 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, and his wife, Laura Cooper, a civil affairs employee at Fort Shafter, take in the view from the newly opened Kolekole Walking Path. With them is 8-year-old Olivia Cureton, the younger sister of one of the Boys Scouts who helped restore the path, and their dogs Lucy and Jax. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto)

Sgt. Scott Cooper, 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, and his wife, Laura Cooper, a civil affairs employee at Fort Shafter, take in the view from the newly opened Kolekole Walking Path. With them is 8-year-old Olivia Cureton, the younger sister of one of the Boys Scouts who helped restore the path, and their dogs Lucy and Jax. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto)

Story and photos by
Karen A. Iwamoto, Staff Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Members of the Army community turned out Saturday afternoon to hike the Kolekole Walking Path and take in the sweeping views it offered of Central Oahu and the Waianae Coast.

U.S. Army Hawaii officials formally reopened the hiking path to the community after a brief ceremony near the trailhead.

1st Sgt. Michael Moore of 2nd SBCT and his son, Brian Moore, right, and Lt. Col. Ken Sanderson and Sgt. Maj. Louis Felicioni, both of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, left, break the ribbon, thereby signifying the official re-opening of the Kolekole Walking Path on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto)

1st Sgt. Michael Moore of 2nd SBCT (left); his son, Brian Moore (second from left); Lt. Col. Ken Sanderson (center), executive officer; and Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Felicioni (right), both of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, break the ribbon, thereby signifying the official reopening of the Kolekole Walking Path on March 14. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto)

Reopening the path is in line with the desire of USARHAW’s senior command to provide greater access to resources that would benefit the community, according to Army officials, and was a joint effort between U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, the Directorate of Public Works, the 25th Infantry Division, Boy Scouts Troop 24 (based on Schofield Barracks), and engineers from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command (based on Fort Shafter).

“We’re really glad (this path) is open,” said Laura Cooper, a civil affairs employee at Fort Shafter, who was hiking the trail with her husband, Sgt. Scott Cooper of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID, and their dogs, Lucy and Jax. “We live on base, so it’s easy for us to come here and explore. I hope it remains open for awhile.”

According to Army officials, dogs are permitted on military trails as long as they are on a leash and their owners clean up after them.

The members of Boys Scouts Troop 24 pause along the wooden steps they installed and reinforced along the newly reopened Kolekole Walking Path. Troop 24 worked closely with U.S. Army Hawaii senior command to re-open the path. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto)

The members of Boys Scouts Troop 24 pause along the wooden steps they installed and reinforced along the newly reopened Kolekole Walking Path. Troop 24 worked closely with U.S. Army Hawaii senior command to re-open the path. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto)

Brian Moore, of Boy Scouts Troop 24, took on the restoration of the path as his Eagle Scout project, and worked closely with USARHAW to ensure that it could once again be used by the community. He received help from his father, 1st. Sgt. Michael Moore of the 2nd SBCT, 25th ID; his fellow Scouts in Troop 24; and Soldiers from the 5th Engineer Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th TSC.

“I feel very confident in the work we have done and (that) it will turn out to be a great trail,” said Moore, who explained that he took on the project because he believed an accessible trail would benefit the community.

Moore, his fellow Scouts and Soldiers from the 5th Engineer Detachment, cleared approximately 1.5 miles of brush along both sides of the trail, repaired and replaced rotted wooden steps, and exposed rebar stakes, added additional wooden steps to facilitate foot traffic and prevent erosion, and installed signage and a rope handrail.

“The most challenging part was definitely fixing up the very end of the trail and hauling the equipment up the path,” Moore said.

However, by taking on the challenge, he gained valuable leadership and construction skills.

Moore and Soldiers from the 5th Eng. Det. were still adding the finishing touches to the trail on Saturday, a bench on which hikers could rest and take in the view.

“I loved working on this project,” said Pfc. Lukas Gregory of the 5th Eng. Det. “I didn’t realize this was even out here on Schofield.

“Schofield isn’t necessarily the prettiest place on the island,” Gregory continued, “but the view here is beautiful.”

Laura Cooper, a civil affairs employee at Fort Shafter, hikes the Kolekole Walking Path on Saturday with her husband, Sgt. Scott Cooper of the 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, and their golden retriever, Lucy. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto)

Laura Cooper, a civil affairs employee at Fort Shafter, hikes the Kolekole Walking Path on Saturday with her husband, Sgt. Scott Cooper of the 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, and their golden retriever, Lucy. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto)

The Kolekole Walking Path and surrounding areas have been closed to the community for about six years. Heavy rainstorms had damaged the areas, according to Army officials.

Army ranges in the vicinity also limit when the trail can be open to the community. Again, notice will be published at least two weeks in advance of openings.

• Walk the Walk

The Kolekole Walking Path will be open on weekends when Army ranges in the area are not in use.

The next scheduled opening of the trail is 5:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., April 4-5.

Future dates will be published in the “Hawaii Army Weekly,” via community bulletins and on Facebook in advance of the trail opening.

Hikers may only access the trail during permitted hours and must follow the instructions of any Department of Army personnel officially discharging their duties.

The Kolekole Walking Path contains hazards, including, but not limited to, steep inclines, wildlife, native foliage, unstable rocks, steep drops and poor visibility.

It is unattended by safety personnel and there are risks inherent in utilizing it.

• Hiking on Post

Get more details about hiking on post at www.garrison.hawaii.amy.mil/info/hiking.htm.

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Category: Community, Safety

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