Improvements beautify monument exterior and enhance public access
HONOLULU -- Gov. Neil Abercrombie today joined representatives of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and others in dedicating the transformed Fort Ruger Pathway and new Bryan Clay Exercise Park along the mauka exterior slope of the Diamond Head State Monument. The Fort Ruger Pathway consists of an accessible multi-use pathway, picnic and rest areas along its 1.3-mile length. The Bryan Clay Exercise Park is comprised of accessible exercise equipment and is adjacent to the new pathway near the entrance to crater.
“Diamond Head, or Le‘ahi, is an iconic monument recognized and associated with Hawaii around the world,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The Fort Ruger Pathway is the result of a true public-private partnership that will improve access and create a unique visitor experience that benefits a world-class destination.
The pathway is the result of collaboration between the state and the Diamond Head Citizens Advisory Committee and is the first element of the 2003 Diamond Head State Monument Master Plan Update.
The Bryan Clay Exercise Park is a gift to the community from fitness pioneer Clark Hatch and the Diamond Head State Monument Foundation. The exercise park is named in honor of Hawai‘i’s own Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist, Bryan Clay, who is an inspiration to Hawaii residents of all ages.
In addition to the Governor, the dedication ceremony was led by Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson William Aila, Jr. and attended by legislators and representatives of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), Kapiolani Community College, Diamond Head Citizens Advisory Committee, and the state Department of Defense (which shares management and jurisdiction of Diamond Head State Monument).
The pathway, which was completed in August 2013, will provide residents and visitors an accessible multi-use path along the exterior slopes of the monument. Previously, there was either no sidewalk at all along Diamond Head Road or, at most, a narrow 3- to 4-foot wide sidewalk for pedestrians -- many of whom walk from Waikiki-area hotels to visit the park and its historic summit hike.
“We are pleased to dedicate the new Fort Ruger Pathway on slopes of the Diamond Head where Fort Ruger once stood,” Aila said. “This day is made possible thanks to the support of the Governor, the Legislature and community partners who helped us formulate the vision for Diamond Head that is laid out in the Master Plan. The pathway and surrounding areas will encompass 12 acres that will beautify the natural landscape, provide recreational opportunities for walkers and bicyclists, and provide an exercise park to encourage fitness. There are also interpretive signs to share the history of the former Fort Ruger Military Reservation in this area.
“In the future we are hopeful that we will be able to accomplish the other elements of the Diamond Head Master Plan that will help us better share this significant cultural, geological and historical site as a leading destination in Hawai‘i.”
The total cost of Phase 1 of the Fort Ruger Pathway was approximately $1.36 million, including all capital improvement funds (CIP). The project is part of a larger CIP appropriation of $4.4 million for trail construction, reconstruction and other improvements at Diamond Head.
With additional funding of $700,000 from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and capital improvement project funds from the Legislature, the Hawaii State Parks Division will later install irrigation and landscaping with appropriate native plant species. Phase 2 will complete the path, irrigation and landscaping.
Diamond Head State Monument encompasses over 475 acres, including the interior and outer slopes of the crater. It received approximately 750,000 visitors annually and ranks among one of Hawaii’s top visitor destinations, according to the HTA