I've been hiking on Kam Schools/Bishop Estate property from the end of Huehue Street in Kaloko Mauka ever since I moved here, in 1991. Over half of the photos I've published on this blog, I'll bet, were taken there. All these, for example. I've always known it was private property, and that there was no legal public access, but I had always assumed that Kam Schools/Bishop Estate knew, and tacitly allowed, the public use. And the evidence pointed that way. Example: The "no trespassing" part of the sign at the gate has been painted over with graffiti for at least two years, which indicates not that access is legal but that the landowner is not very concerned with keeping people out. The only legal access I know of is through Rob Pacheco's Hawaii Forest and Trail at $115 a pop. In those 19 years hiking up there I'd never heard, as they say, a discouraging word, though two friends of mine recently were berated, when they tried to hike early one Sunday, in profane and crypto-racial terms ("you people").
So when, Sunday afternoon, I reached the top of Huehue Street and saw a pick-up parked by the gate, I suspected it was KS/BE. A very polite and professional young man asked me if I was planning on hiking through the gate, and upon receiving an affirmative response, apologized to me and informed me that I did not have permission to enter, and that I'd be trespassing if I did.
I told him that I understood. I admitted that I'd always known it was private property, but thought that KS/BE didn't care. I explained how long I'd been hiking up there and my feelings about the land. I said that I try to take care of the land by picking up rubbish and pulling invasive plants. I said that I'd be willing to buy a permit to hike, and that I would miss hiking up there. We talked for a while about the land, a good talk, I'd say.
I understand, and appreciate, that KS/BE is trying to protect the land. I'm on their side, and want to help. I'm betting that there are more people out there who have found a moment of peace or a connection with nature up there, who would be willing to help with conservation/replanting projects up there and/or pay a fee for an annual permit or pass. I hope something can be worked out.