“far too long and too often, important pieces of rural Hawai’i have been sold to the highest bidder and then developed into something that forever changed the essence and character of the entire area.” As a community, regardless of whether we live in the city or country, on O’ahu or one of the other islands, we owe it to Hawai’i’s future generations to preserve special places like the Turtle Bay property.” – Governor Linda Lingle (HAWAII)
As I’ve gone about reading many of the inspired articles and recaps of what was another historic turn-out in the battle to Save Trestles, I’ve tried as much as possible to relate to the people who are so adamant about keeping this pristine area as is. I’ve wondered what the plan of the proposed 241 Toll Road must sound like to the San Bernadino woman that was mentioned in a previous post, the one who made the 100 mile trip to Del Mar to let Secretary Gutierrez know that for years her family has annually made a summer camping trip to San Mateo campgrounds, partly because the area is so spectacular, but also because it’s a vacation that is affordable for her family. Surfrider’s Jim Moriarty made mention of how inspiring the children were at the rally, how their voices were some of the loudest and most moving throughout the event. In a sense, it’s the children and future generations that stand to lose the most if this project were ever to be approved.
While taking in all of the stories of heroic activism yesterday, my mindseye wandered to another truly special and largely undeveloped treasure that is being threatened by commercial interests. The Turtle Bay area on the North Shore of Oahu has been facing similar threats of over-development in recent years. Owners of Turtle Bay Resort made their plans to expand on their current resort with the construction of five new hotels with 3,500 more condos on and around Kawela Bay. This type of development would be nothing short of a tragedy for residents of the islands and visitors alike.
Governor Lingle is working on a state acquisition of the property, but the future for this pristine area of Hawaii is sadly still very much in the air. The Defend Oahu Coalition and Keep the North Shore Country are two very good sources for information regarding the issue, both provide opportunities for those who are interested in helping out to do just that. Surfrider and Teton Gravity Research released the film “Out There” this past spring, a movie that beautifully told the story of the situation that this area finds itself in.
Priceless childhood memories of summer days spent exploring the tidepools, white sandy beaches, and other natural gems in the magical area surrounding Turtle Bay help me to understand part of what’s at stake when places like this and Trestles come under attacks motivated by greed. It’s vital that these areas are preserved for generations to come. Once they’re gone, that’s it. There is no turning back and restoring these lands to what they once were, and losing them would truly be tragic.