O`ahu has a varied, extensive, and distinctive network of mountain hiking trails. Stuart M. Ball Jr., the author of The Hiker’s Guide to O`ahu, explores the history behind many of the island’s trails, beginning with the early Hawaiians who blazed routes for traveling, plant and wood gathering, and bird catching. Sugar plantations constructed paths to access ditches that tapped stream water for thirsty cane. The U.S. Army built trails for training and island defense, while those developed by the Territorial Forestry Division and the Civilian Conservation Corps were mainly for reforestation and wild pig control. Most recently, volunteers and hiking clubs have created additional routes for recreation. The result of all this varied activity is a large network of just over a hundred mountain trails, a precious resource on a small, populous island.
This book compiles the history of fifty of those trails. Most of them still exist, and many are open to the public. The trails are arranged by the group or organization that built them, moving from Hawaiian trails before 1800 to volunteer trails of the 1990s. Each chapter contains an overview that describes the background and purpose of the trail building during the period covered. The trail histories are self-contained, recording the major events from construction through 2010.