Essay on Diamond Head Trail Recreationists and Their Environmental Impact

Essay on Diamond Head Trail Recreationists and Their Environmental Impact

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A management approach to Diamond Head trail recreationists and their environmental impact

Volcanoes are an important part of my life. As soon as I learned that my husband was being stationed in Hawaii I knew that I needed to hike Diamond Head. Aside from volcanoes, I am also hugely passionate about education and conservation which makes maintaining the integrity of Diamond Head a critical goal of mine. Selfishly, I want to be able to hike Diamond Head for years to come. This paper will discuss how the demographics of recreationists and their environmental impacts on Diamond Head can possibly be addressed by management approaches.

Diamond Head trail is hiked by about a million people per year. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources engaged in a trail and park user census which detailed the user profile of those who chose to hike the Diamond Head trail. The results showed that people are more likely to hike in pairs while between 20-25% of people hike alone. Coincidentally, the percentage of people hiking in pairs rather than alone is consistent with a study of local parks that found that 81% of adult males participated in groups rather than by themselves (Chapter 2). The majority of people who hike Diamond Head heard about the trail by word of mouth and most hikers notified someone not with them that they intended to go hiking. People wore various footwear, including 69% running shoes, 12% tevas, 7% hiking boots, 6% slippers, 5% dress sandals, and 1% loafers while 5 people were observed wearing heels. Under 20% of the users got lost, slightly over 10% of users said they left the path, and 90% of the users recalled seeing signs but not what the signs said. The average age of hikers is 25-34, the majority of hiker...

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...have already suggested to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources that they improve their brochure. Hopefully changes like these will mean that I can continue to hike Diamond Head for a long, long time without worrying that a rock is going to fall on me or entire portions of the trail are going to shrink and become unusable from erosion.

In conclusion, the demographics of the recreationists who hike Diamond Head have had an increasingly damaging environmental impact on the trail. The management approach to address this should include education, conservation, and maybe even the implementation of physical barriers to stop people from leaving the trail. Diamond Head is my favorite place on Oahu so I am personally invested in trying to mitigate the damage and hopeful that an increase in management will keep the trail around for a long, long time.

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