Bill Would Give Hawaii Legislators More Power Over Public Trails

Hawaii Sen. Kalani English from Maui during a hearing at the Hawaii State Capitol. (PF Bentley/Civil Beat)

A controversial measure giving the Legislature more authority to determine what is a public trail cleared a key Senate committee Tuesday.

But Senate Bill 2728, backed by Maui Sen. Kalani English, is particularly raising the eyebrows of a trail-advocacy group that has sued a Maui company over trail access.

Members of the organization Public Access Trails Hawaii are suspicious that the bill is an attempt to derail their ongoing lawsuit against Haleakala Ranch Company on Maui. The group filed a case against the landowner three years ago to gain public access to Haleakala Trail on Maui. The state joined the case as a co-plaintiff in 2013.

English said the proposal is a general issue and isn’t tied to any particular trails.

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