Present: 3 OANRP staff, 1 State of Hawaii Natural Area Reserve staff, 13 volunteers
On Sept. 24, 2011, three O‘ahu Army Natural Resources Program (OANRP) staff, thirteen volunteers, and one State of Hawaii staff joined together to revitalize the boardwalk trail at Ka‘ala. The highest peak in the Waianae Mountains, Ka‘ala is home to an immature bog filled with rare and uniquely Hawaiian plants and animals. The boardwalk passes through the bog, providing a window into the forest for hikers and an important access trail for conservationists. The boardwalk, now 20 years old and severely decayed, is being replaced in a joint project by OANRP and the State of Hawaii. Along the boardwalk, there is an infestation of the invasive moss Sphagnum palustre, which forms dense, deep mats and replaces a diverse group of native mosses with a monoculture. Sphagnum also may alter the water and nutrient cycles in the bog, which in turn can affect the forest as a whole.
On National Public Lands Day, we built on previous work done at Ka‘ala. Wire mesh was nailed to the new boardwalk to create traction and improve the safety of the trail. Sphagnum was treated along the boardwalk corridor with an organic clove oil product, to ensure that hikers do not become unwitting vectors for the moss, which can grow from tiny fragments easily caught up and moved by boots. Three additional days are scheduled to continue this work.