Wahiawa Troops Clean Kaena Point Reserve

Army Specialists Oscar Lopez and Erick Olson remove a pair of pallets from the shoreline at Kaena Point. Photo by Anthony Consillio.

More than 50 Schofield Barracks soldiers joined other community members April 28 for an Earth Day cleanup at the Kaena Point State Park Reserve.

In addition to cleaning up debris, the volunteers moved rocks to designate authorized roads throughout the area. Over the years, the rocks were moved allowing off-road motorists to drive over unapproved areas which threatened the area’s natural and cultural resources.

“The No. 1 priority for the day is to delineate the roads so people can stay on the appropriate paths,” said Dan Quinn, state parks administrator. “This is part of the process, it’s going to take everyone’s time and effort to change the mindset and habits.”

The group picked up trash along a three-mile stretch of the shoreline and shifted through sand and ash with magnetic sweepers to remove hundreds of rusted nails and other metal objects left from illegal bonfires.

All incoming Schofield Barracks soldiers are shown a training film about responsible recreation activities and cultural awareness by Annelle Amaral, the native Hawaiian liaison to the Army. And though the video includes information about Kaena Point, the cleanup was the first time many of the volunteers had been to the area.

“We see the movie about Kaena Point at the briefing, but when you come out here and see Kaena firsthand, it really hits home,” said Capt. Michael Taylor.

All told, the group filled a pickup truck with bags of everything from broken glass to a car exhaust system.

The event was a group effort by U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources staff and is one of many environmental cleanups the soldiers take part in throughout the year.

“I’m pleased this was a true success,” said Amaral. “Restoration of Kaena Point is going to take an all-of-us effort; it’s a kakou thing.”