STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2144
RE: S.B. No. 2331
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2018
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Water and Land, to which was referred S.B. No. 2331 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO TRAILS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to improve Nā Ala Hele, the Hawaii statewide trail and access program, by improving access to and maintaining state controlled recreational trails statewide and promoting hiker safety and hiker etiquette education and outreach.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu, Sierra Club of Hawai‘i, and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance.
Your Committee finds that the Department of Land and Natural Resources has a statewide inventory of one hundred twenty-eight trail-and-road features spanning approximately eight hundred fifty-five miles and keeping up with the rising demand for trail use remains a constant challenge for the Department. Heavy use and limited operational capacity have curbed the level of maintenance on trail features. This measure provides additional funds to manage these trails to keep pace with the growing demand for trail use and ensure public safety.
Your Committee further finds that along with the popularity of wilderness hiking has come a growing number of mountain rescues occurring each year. Various internet adventure websites have promoted wrong or misleading information that places hikers in danger, leading to uninformed hikers getting injured while on the trails, or hiking on trails that are unmaintained or prohibited. This measure promotes hiker safety education to decrease the number of rescues.
Lastly, your Committee finds that the popularity of hiking has also resulted in the need for hiker etiquette education and outreach. For example, some trails that are located in residential neighborhoods have gained immense popularity and have resulted in a dramatic increase in complaints regarding naive or disrespectful trail users. As a result, some frustrated neighborhood residents have proposed the closure of some trail heads to prevent the nuisance that certain hikers have caused. By appropriating funds for hiker etiquette education and outreach, this measure helps to ensure that trails are kept open for use.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting an appropriation amount of $1,800,000 in general revenue for fiscal year 2018-2019 to be expended by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to improve Nā Ala Hele, the Hawaii statewide trail and access program;
(2) Deleting language that would have delayed funds necessary to improve Nā Ala Hele from being included in the base budget of the Department of Land and Natural Resources until the beginning of the 2019-2020 fiscal year; and
(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Water and Land that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2331, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2331, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Water and Land,
KARL RHOADS, Chair