(Editor’s Note: Â Accompanying this story by Tiffany Edwards Hunt that appears in today’s edition of the Big Island Weekly are two others, including information about public access and additional photos taken at the Friday, May 14, 2010 protest. Previous references to the Papaikou Mill beach access controversy are here and here.)
Charlene Prickett says her friends are going to make her a T-shirt that on the front reads â€œFHB â€” F-g haole bitch, the lady at the end of the street,â€ and on the back, â€œMy friends call me Charlene.â€
Prickett is trying to use humor to cope with the fact that she is at the center of growing controversy over access to the beach fronting the now-defunct Onomea mill â€” commonly referred to as the old Papaikou Mill. Â â€œIâ€™ve been called f-g haole so many times, itâ€™s hard to remember the one time.â€
Prickett and her architect husband Jim Waugh for 17 years have owned the land that includes the old Onomea Mill in Papaikou.
Throughout their ownership, the couple has allowed beachgoers to traverse their property and, in 2002, created the switchback trail that is used today. Â Prickett explained that when the couple bought their property nearly two decades ago, there was no trail. Â Beachgoers went through a hole in the fence bordering their property and made their way through the decrepit mill, climbing down to the beach on a rickety ladder. Waugh, having taken his family down to the beach through this makeshift and sketchy route, vowed to improve the access.
But in the eight years since the trailâ€™s completion, Prickett and Waugh have felt more resentment and hostility than they have gratitude and appreciation. Â â€œThereâ€™s this belief that itâ€™s not our land, itâ€™s not our trail, itâ€™s not our right,â€ said Prickett.
She and her husband have been called names and been threatened, had their gate bashed, trees cut, and vegetation along the trail hacked. Â The couple has also been burglarized, and the small parking area at the entrance of the coupleâ€™s property was so notorious for vehicle break-ins that a community policing officer and deputy prosecutor recommended the couple do away with parking there altogether. Â
Today boulders prevent any parking for the beach whatsoever. Â The beat-up gate fronting the property belonging to Prickett and Waugh is plastered with signage indicating, â€œNo dogs,â€ â€œno bicycles,â€ and other expectations for traversing their property. Â Read more