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Sacred Falls may reopen...someday
by Brian Mercy, staffwriter


Hau‘ula, was deemed a deathtrap after a landslide in May of 1999 killed eight people and injured more than 30 others. The park was shut down, and much controversy surrounds that decision.

Some, traumatized by the disaster, are adamantly opposed to the park ever reopening, while others feel it is their God-given right to access nature.

Will Sacred Falls reopen? Maybe, according to State Parks Administrator Daniel Quinn, “The park could open again.”

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Quinn said that it’s a decision that will be made by someone higher than him, and does not know when it may reopen, but referred to a “master plan” being considered by state park officials. Details of the plan were not available.

Complicating the issue is a class action lawsuit filed against the state by the law firm of Park Park Yu and Remillard on behalf of nearly 30 people, who were either injured or are family of those killed in the landslide accident. The suit seeks millions of dollars in damages, and is still pending.

People have been arrested for attempting to hike the area, and charged with petty misdemeanor, a crime that carries a $100 fine, according to Quinn.

Debbie Nichols, formerly of Schofield Barracks, was stunned to learn that the park may reopen: “I can’t believe the state is thinking of reopening that park. Wasn’t the loss of eight lives enough to say the park should remain closed?”

O‘ahu resident Bob Gaddis disagrees, and is glad that the park may reopen, “Do we close the ocean when someone drowns or is injured? Does Vail Ski Resort close when an unexpected avalanche kills some skiers? Does Colorado close its rivers when some rafters run into disaster? No to all these,” said Gaddis. “The people killed and injured were enjoying themselves, and I don’t believe for a minute they would want the trail closed. It is time to reopen Sacred Falls Trail.”


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