Waikiki is arguably the most beautiful destination in the world. It is also the economic engine of the State of Hawai‘i and the center of its thriving international tourism industry. Each day about 150,000 people are in Waikiki to work, play and live and roughly 40,000 residents call it home. Among the many reasons it is such an acclaimed paradise are its stunning heritage of trees and its freedom from the visual blight of billboards and most other forms of outdoor advertising.
Yet most people today are unaware that the foundation of much of Waikiki’s successful beauty lies in pioneering work by The Outdoor Circle (“TOC”) started nearly one hundred years ago. Many of the majestic heritage trees were planted or planned by TOC and the statewide outdoor advertising control laws were the result of more than a decade of diligent TOC campaigning. But this success can no longer be taken for granted as relentless commercial and political pressures continually challenge our unique environment with huge building developments and new forms of outdoor advertising.
As a result, The Outdoor Circle recently approved the charter of our new Greater Waikiki Branch to raise awareness of the organization’s historic role in keeping the city and its parks “Clean, Green and Beautiful”. As the first urban branch of TOC we are aware that it needs to be quite different - with fresh ideas for its young mission, membership and methods. Our district includes Waikiki, from the encircling Ala Wai Canal to the beaches, and both Kapiolani and Ala Moana Parks.
Our first priority is to complete the development of an entirely new online GIS mapping system that will allow users to view multiple maps of our trees, walks and historic structures - all right from their smartphones as well as home computers or laptops. Tree-loving watchdogs will also have information on what to do if you see a tree under threat. We will in addition provide the ability to check on your phone if a suspect advertising sign is legal and what to do if it not. We have recently begun working with a coalition of state, city, county and community organization partners to bring to fruition the “Lei of Parks” greenways from Diamond Head to Downtown. There is renewed focus on Livability as an essential quality of our life in Waikiki.
Stay tuned for news of our forthcoming launch events. Please contact us if you would like to help by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Brian Bagnall, President, Waikiki Branch Outdoor Circle
Greenleaf is the online newsletter and blog of The Outdoor Circle. Here you will find updates on the projects and accomplishments of our many branches throughout the state, as well as programs with statewide impact.