Concern grows over the future of hiking on Oahu

A 27-year-old female hiker died after falling 500 feet off the Makapuu Tom Tom Trail in East Oahu. The tragic accident is just one of many search and rescue attempts firefighters have responded to this year alone. Oahu hiking clubs fear the recent increase in accidents will cause landowners and the state to close down more trails.

Landowners have already cracked down on websites featuring the popular trail. Two hiking clubs on Oahu say the over-exposure of these popular trails are leading to the trails “downfall.” Seasoned hikers within those clubs say social media brought the allure of Oahu’s trails to the mainstream. “The social media in the last several years has opened up a new world of information to people who may live in Oklahoma,” said Ralph Valentino, a member of the Hawaiian Trail & Mountain Club.

By doing a simple a hash tag search, you’ll discover hundreds of posts on the Tom Tom Trail, with many taking photos at the “puka”, which they find a great photo opportunity. “It’s the guys with the Go-Pro cameras,” said Randy Ching, a hiker with the Sierra Club. “They go up to these really dangerous places, and they upload it to these websites. People go there and they say, ‘Wow! That’s amazing! I gotta do this.’”

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