Awesome Performance by Lydgate Beach Cleanup Team

Beginning on January 1, 2022 a series of King Tides launched a mass of albezia driftwood into the Wailua River and the nearby ocean. A lot of that material ended up in the Morgan’s Ponds at Lydgate Beach Park, as pointed out by Friends of Kamalani Beach Cleanup Team member Dave Lister, manager of Star FM 94.3 (right). 

During the single month of January, 2022, the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park Beach Cleanup Team volunteers proceeded to clear away some 180 cubic yards of driftwood, almost all of it by hand.

The Beach Cleanup Team shows up every Saturday morning from 8:30 to 10:30, and for this major cleanup was supported by the Department of Parks & Recreation plus donated equipment provided by Pacific Concrete Cutting and Coring and Cushnie Construction (see image below).

Clearing away huge amounts of driftwood by hand takes a lot of hard physical labor, yet the Friends of Kamalani keep coming back every Saturday, clearing the driftwood from this special park amenity. What is it that motivates these people?

“These beach cleanups are rewarding,” wrote helicopter pilot Arthur Griffin-Noyes (left), “I’m able to give a little bit back to my community, and it gives me the opportunity to work alongside my father on a project he’s passionate about, all while maintaining a place my son really enjoys.”

“Since I'm currently a visitor and not kamaaina, it’s a ‘pay it forward’ approach,” said Kauai born Roy Seshiki, whose residence is in Washington state. “My father volunteered here, allowing me to enjoy the amenities of the beach and Park. Now I’m volunteering so my son, granddaughter, and other ohana will enjoy this place today, and in the future.”

Eric Horning’s background is in construction. “We all have a place in this community and this island,” Horning commented. “We cannot turn a blind eye, and think that someone else will take care of the ‘aina. It’s our job to help out where we can, and do the work that helps us all. We all benefit from this wonderful island that we live on, and the people that make it a place to call home. The good feeling that this brings is only necessary in our hearts and nowhere else. I’m glad that I am able to help out, and that many others feel the same way.”

At right Kaipo Like clears driftwood from the Baby Beach on January 22, 2022.

William Shorma owns Rushmore Buildings Company in Springfield, South Dakota. “These beach cleanups give my family a cool venue to be part of a community that takes care of our favorite piece of ocean,” said Shorma. “We love snorkeling in the ponds, and the Kamalani Playground for the grandkids. We’re going on six years of doing this when we visit from the continent.”

A Kauai Community Players actor and mentor for the Sea Scouts, Tom Worthen contributed, “I’m grateful for both the joy created as I watch people use the park, and the connections we make in our hard working cleanup team.”

“We at the Kapaa Lions Club began volunteering when new member Michelle Carlson announced she was the Beach Cleanup Team member in charge of refreshments,” reported Janice Bond. “Several Lions helped with the January 15 cleanup, and then on January 22 more Lions came out, including candidate for Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Like and her whole family. As a bonus, several of the Beach Cleanup Team volunteers asked to join the Lions Club!”

Worthen continued, “I watch tourists and locals enjoying Lydgate Beach Park, and I can see what a difference every beach cleanup makes. Following recent extreme rain events, albezia driftwood logs have entirely covered Morgan’s Ponds and washed up on the beach. It is so rewarding to see the rapid transformation from a pile of debris to the pristine beaches that we love.”

The last two (of six) full 30-yard bins are shown, with the cleaned beach on January 29, 2022, at left.

Shorma added, “The constant battle to clear away marine debris is daunting, but we’re all hopeful that seawall infrastructure improvements can be made to reduce the severity of these cleanup efforts, and increase our time for enjoying an island vacation.”

Seshiki concluded, “Since no one can control the ocean or weather, clean up and maintenance will remain a necessity. When I was a Boy Scout, we were taught to leave our sites better or cleaner than we found it. Volunteering with The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park’s Beach Cleanup Team allows me to do both, and enables others enjoy this place. My only hope is other visitors and locals will do the same.”

Contact the author at 808 639-1018 for updates on Lydgate Park volunteer opportunities, like Earth Day in Lydgate Park coming up 7:30 AM to lunch, Main Pavilion on Saturday, April 22, 2023.