WAIPI’O VALLEY: The Waipi’o Valley Access Road was closed to visitors on January 13 following confirmation of two cases of dengue fever in the valley, and so far residents are OK with the decision.
During a Saturday community clean-up event at the county-acquired Rice property overlooking Waipi’o, residents like Darde Gamayo said the valley needed a rest from the constant flow of tourists trekking up and down the steep access road. While the presence of dengue fever was not good news, many said the relative tranquility in the valley since the closure was announced has been welcome.
It is not yet known how long the county-directed closure of the access road will last. On January 15, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the Muliwai hiking trail on the far cliff side of Waipio Valley and its Waimanu Valley campground. DLNR said the closure will remain in place for 8-12 weeks after no new cases are diagnosed in the area by health officials.
Muliwai trail and Waimanu Valley can only be accessed via Waipio valley. Campers with existing permits will be contacted by DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife. The state says no new permits will be issued until further notice.
As of January 15, there have been 223 locally-acquired cases of dengue fever counted on Hawaii Island.