While at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, Joe Schwagerl, Project Lead for USFWS Oahu/Maui NWF Unit, told me about the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and the planned commemoration of the Betty Nagamine Bliss Memorial Overlook on Dec. 1st. I had only seen these wetlands on the map and caught an occasional glimpse as I run the Pearl Harbor bike path. I was surprised and pleased to know there is an effort underway to make these areas a bit more accessible to the public.
Here are a few photos of the commemoration ceremony for the Betty Nagamine Bliss Memorial Overlook. Betty Bliss was a teacher at McKinley High School back in the 1970's who spend many long hours convincing the Federal government (FAA) to preserve wetlands that were being destroyed by the building of the Honolulu International Airport. Through her tireless efforts and with help from Herman Bliss, who was head of the FAA in Hawaii at the time, the US Fish & Wildlife Service designated several areas around Pearl Harbor as wildlife refuges. More than 40 years later, she is being memorialized in the construction and dedication of the overlook.
As I came to realize, not only is the overlook a way to provide better public access to the area for viewing and appreciating Hawaii's wetlands, it is also part of a plan to extend the bike path from Pearl Harbor all the way to Nanakuli. I stumbled upon this Leeward Bikeway plan produced by R.M. Towill Corp. for the Dept of Transportation.
As I follow my curiosity, I'd like to find out when a large section of "bike path" from Waipahu Depot Road, where Pouhala Marsh is located all the way to West Locke Estates, is slated for completion. More to come...