Trail Clearing Notes

Here’s some general rules for clearing a trail on a non-state trail in Hawaii.

  • No more than shoulder wide- 18-24 inches is enough. Too wide encourages erosion.
  • If possible, don’t cut native plants.
  • Cut low to the ground, straight across. Cutting on a slant 1-2 feet high leaves “punji sticks” which can poke and stab an unwary hiker.
  • Loppers and saws are quick and easy to use. Machete only if you are careful and familiar with them. Used carelessly, they leave punji sticks and sliced legs.
  • On a slope, cut on the uphill side to leave space to provide a bit of safety on the downhill side to prevent falls.
  • Don’t get carried away and create H4.
  • Keep a distance between cutters. Five feet apart, or ten feet if using machetes.
  • Be careful. Stop if you’re tired; that’s when most accidents occur.

Jim Yuen,  August 2010