An Alternate Route through Hawai‘i’s History
Roads were a primary driver in the commercial elite’s quest for Western economic development and initiated substantial political change. Measuring how roads contributed to Hawai`i's commercial history is difficult, but scenic roads helped maintain the focus on making tourism a dominant factor in the economy. Tourism succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of planners who supported scenic roads as commercial enterprises. Several scenic byways became destinations in their own right. The popularity of scenic roads demonstrates the contradictions between cars and nature, with Hawai`i's national parks forced to consider limits on motor vehicles. Rural and scenic roads also highlight cultural, landscape, and heritage values in contemporary Hawai`i, serving as significant reminders of the islands' rich history. Roads helped integrate Hawai`i into the Union, but in the early twenty-first century, scenic, historic, and rural roads help the Hawaiian Islands remain uniquely different from the rest of the nation.
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