As a past president of The Outdoor Circle on Kauai, I believe that it appears Mr. Chris Tipton has misunderstood the nature, formation and evolution of the organization (Community Voices, “Children’s Playground Is Just Fine At Ala Moana,” Dec. 3).

It’s all available in detail on the web.

For 107 years, this group of environmental activists has championed preservation of the beauty of our islands.

The goal of fulfilling on a plan commissioned by the Board of Supervisors, to create Honolulu as a “city of delight” noted for its panoramic charm, and create a future for Hawaii’s aina, including public lands, and parks, was just the start.

Pretending it is a hobby of the affluent fails to recognize hundreds or thousands of donations from housewives, businessmen, pineapple cannery workers, retail clerks, state and city employees, and plant lovers, who throughout the years have donated thousands of hours of volunteering every year. From school kids’ pennies to teenage dollars, to lifelong contributions to the City and County of Honolulu, it all makes a difference.

While it is true that starting in 1906 a group of women who were free to pursue something other than brute labor took on the war against billboards with the assistance of Lorrin Thurston, the publisher of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s predecessor, it was hardly a plaything of the wealthy.

An advertisement blighting San Francisco’s Union Square, in close proximity to some of the finest hotels. We can thank The Outdoor Circle for banning billboards on Oahu. Virginia Beck

Honolulu’s beauty was being destroyed by monstrous Bull Durham Tobacco and Wrigley’s Chewing Gum billboards. Imagine blocking the views of Manoa Valley or the Pali Highway, or our landmark, Diamond Head.

We would look like Tokyo, New York, or Any City, USA, where enormous drive-in theater-size signage is placed for the best exposure, viewed on the sides of high rises.

The Outdoor Circle, in fact, raised funds to purchase the last billboard company, and lobby for legislation restricting signage, to preserve the legacy of beauty that we now enjoy. They also launched the campaign for the state flower, the hibiscus.

Most of the stately old trees that grace our parks and streets were planted, donated, and maintained through the tireless work of The Outdoor Circle.

For a tree lover, these are the jewels of our neighborhoods — a joy to locals and visitors, shelter for our birds, children’s games and gatherings.

From parks to Palm Circle at Fort Shafter, Hickam, Pearl Harbor and Schofield Barracks, all owe their tree planting and preservation to the diligent efforts of volunteers.

To denigrate a public benefit volunteer group as wealthy and powerful is laughable. In 1906 women were not even allowed to vote!

But they did have the power of the word, and the pen. No task is too large, when undertaken together.

Please join us in our effort to maintain the green spaces of our beautiful island.

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About the Author

  • Virginia Beck
    Virginia Beck is a nurse practitioner and certified Trager practitioner. After three continents and four islands, she has lived on Kauai nearly 50 years. A speaker for those with no voices, she ardently supports preservation of Kauai’s natural and cultural treasures. She writes for several online publications, and is working on several books.