Death Of Hiker In Waimanalo Sunday Occurred On Unsanctioned Trail
POSTED: 6:58 pm HST March 20, 2012
UPDATED: 9:57 am HST March 21, 2012
After Sunday's death of an avid hiker in Waimanalo, officials with the state Land Department are warning hikers to remain on sanctioned trails. Leslie Charles Merrell, 48, died after falling 150 feet from a narrow ridge known as "Bear Claw."
"Most beautiful places, unfortunately in a lot of cases, have dangers and hazards associated with them," said Aaron Lowe, the state's Oahu trails and access specialist for the Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program. "If you're not experienced or you're not in shape or you don't have the right equipment, you're probably going to run yourself into some trouble."
There are 43 state approved trails on Oahu offering about 100 miles of hiking. Lowe said anyone who strays off the beaten path not only risks injury or death, they could also be charged with trespassing.
"A lot of trails on this island are on private land or on military training areas. "There could also be native species (or) cultural sites that you really shouldn't maybe go to."