Tuesday, June 15, 2010


STONED AGAIN: One of the stupidest things we’ve ever heard of- and on Kaua`i that’s saying a lot- is the plan to try to prevent a rockslide at the waterfall on Kalalau beach by causing one.

If the local newspaper article by still-unable-to-find-the-lead reporter Leo Azambuja is to be believed:

Workers will then suspend themselves from the top of the cliff, and using crowbars they’ll hammer out rocks that appear to be less than 50 percent attached to the cliff’s face.

It’s hard to say which is more imbecilic- the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) that has come up with this harebrained scheme or the Kaua`i Planning Commission that actually issued a Special Management Area Permit to do it- an approval that was reported 1037 words into a 1137 word article.

Have these people ever spent any time there? We have- lots of it.

Yes rocks fall- very occasionally. And people generally avoid the areas where they are likely to fall, obeying the signs in the area.

But as long as you leave them alone, when they do fall they present little or no danger. The only “incidents” have come about when sh-t-for-brains tourists mess with them by climbing around on them.

As anyone who has spent any time looking at the geology of landslides on the crumbly islands’ sheer cliff faces can tell you, if you actually bring down the loose stuff- the rocks that are actually holding the whole thing together- the rock slides will continue at an advanced rate for many years until it stabilizes... leaving others rocks ready to fall in perpetuity.

If you let them fall intermittently by themselves the occurrences will be sporadic and won’t potentially allow a huge “face” to fall with the first good rainfall.

This has been shown over and over and is why, when the Department of Transportation (DOT) does any rock removal work above highways nowadays, they put chain link meshing over the disturbed area to stop the rock and landslides that inevitably occur immediately after the work is done.

And even stupider is, according to the article, the idea to try to bring down:

two massive blocks that are apparently slowly detaching from the cliff’s face.

Conservative estimates measure the blocks at approximately 230 and 1,250 cubic yards each.

(Environmental planner for AECom, the company contracted to oversee the project,
Tobias) Koehler said there are cracks so wide that it’s possible to stick an arm inside of them.

The idea is to insert air bags into those cracks, and then pump them until the blocks detach from the face of the cliff.

In talking to the old-timers as far back as the 70’s those “slowly detaching” boulders have been doing so for decades, perhaps centuries- as far back as anyone can remember. An examination of the large boulders in the area shows them to have been where they are for a long long time.

A couple of the comments on the article agree:

“If you pop off the big rocks the more numerous small ones the size of your fist will crumble off the cliffs and kill and injure more people than 1 big one. Leave Kalalau natural like it has been since it began.”

“Anyone who's spent any time down the coast knows that rocks fall - and will continue to fall. You can't stop it. Avoid the rock fall zones just like we did as kids. Anyone remember when the entire cave at the Honopu end collapsed?”

Along with the recent announcement that despite almost unanimous local opposition the DLNR is going to put up a gate in Koke`e to charge “non-residents” (for now).

It’s no wonder they use the excuse of having no money for “maintenance” of parks to justify the Koke`e fees when they spend $800,000 (reported 974 words into the article) on nonsense like this.

This kind of idiocy of allowing decisions regarding our parks to be made around a table in Honolulu has got to end with the end of this administration.

The question only seems to be how much damage they can do before December.

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