Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabrielle Joyner, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii
Sailors and Seabees assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) volunteered to assist Hawaii’s Department of Transportation Services and the City and County of Honolulu with ongoing efforts to restore the Pearl Harbor Bike Path, located along Pearl Harbor’s historic waterfront in Aiea, September 22.
Members of the JBPHH Chief Petty Officer’s Mess, First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) and Seabees assigned to the Navy Construction Battalion Mobile Unit (CBMU) 303 Detachment Pearl Harbor, joined together to begin the second phase of the bike path’s restoration, which involved clearing out an invasive stretch of mangrove trees that grow near the waterline.
“It’s great to see our Sailors volunteer in this community effort to clear invasive mangrove as part of the city’s second phase of maintenance to clean up the Pearl Harbor bike path,” said Capt. Jeff Bernard, Joint Base Commander, who was in attendance to lend a hand to the cleanup process. “As good neighbors and partners, we share the city’s commitment to safety and security of this popular bike path.”
The U.S. Navy has partnered with the City & County of Honolulu for the past 12 years to cleanup the bike path, hosting volunteer efforts at least twice a year.
“Our Sailors, Airmen and civilians bring enthusiasm, hard work and compassion to efforts like these,” said Capt. Bernard. “We thank the city for their continued success so far in this high visibility project.”
The bike path is scheduled to be closed beginning Wednesday, September 20, through Friday, October 13. Signs have been posted notifying bike path users of the closure, as well as a detour onto nearby Kamehameha Highway.
“The Pearl Harbor Bike Path holds historic significance while also serving as a vital corridor for bicyclists and pedestrians seeking alternatives in commuting,” said Department of Facility Maintenance Director Ross Sasamura. “Mayor Caldwell expresses his appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the United States Navy and the contingent of hard working volunteers and Seabees for their assistance in cutting back and removing mangroves that previously obstructed views of Pearl Harbor and constricted use of the bike path.”
This is the second time the Department of Transportation Services is closing a portion of the Pearl Harbor Bike Path, following a grant of easement agreement between the City and County of Honolulu and the U.S. Navy. The previous closure took place from August 7 through 31, and also involved the closure of Neal S. Blaisdell Park for landscaping and maintenance work.
“The ongoing repair and maintenance effort on the Pearl Harbor Bike Path would not have been possible without the grant of easement from the United States Navy, which Mayor Caldwell signed on July 20, 2017,” said Sasamura.
Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jeremy Harborth, a member of the JBPHH FCPOA, was one of several Sailors who joined in to help remove heavy Mangrove branches from the bike path, safely and efficiently.
“The JBPHH FCPOA has been actively working with engineers from Navy Region Hawaii, Joint Base Command and City of Honolulu officials to develop a safe system of debris clearing and invasive plant species removal as a community outreach project,” said Harborth. “Members of the FCPOA lend a hand and lift a load when the time comes to keep our community safe, improve our shoreline and provide positive role model behavior for others to emulate.”
According to Harborth, he found encouragement through the collective effort put in by all of the different teams who worked together to make sure they accomplished their task.
“Today was an eye opening experience because of the motivation displayed by the volunteers,” said Harborth. “No one blinked on how hard the job was going to be, or how long it was going to take. Chief Petty Officers from Navy Region Hawaii, JBPHH FCPOA, the Junior Enlisted Association and especially the Seabee’s CBMU-303, demonstrated what I have always been told about them; fearless and hardworking! We feel proud that so much was accomplished, but know that there is a long way to go to fully complete these cleanup goals.”
The city’s Office of Housing and Department of Community Services have been coordinating outreach with non-profit service providers to offer options for those in the area who are experiencing homelessness.
For maintenance updates on the Pearl Harbor Bike Path, contact the Department of Facility Maintenance at (808) 768-3600. For questions and/or comments related to bicycling, contact Chris Sayers, Bicycle Coordinator, DTS at (808) 768-8335.