Kula, Maui – A recent land acquisition protects the Kula water aquifer, habitat for endangered species, and community-based forest restoration opportunities. These lands are now protected in perpetuity thanks to federal, state, and non-profit partners.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) purchased 3,433 acres of upland Kula property from the Shizuka Asakawa Revocable Trust in July 2020 and conveyed the property to the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) on August 31, 2020. The acquisition will provide substantial community benefits. As the property has just been acquired, it is not yet open to public use.
Over the coming year, DOFAW will add the property to the Forest Reserve System and will initiate consultation with the community to develop a management plan for the area. This plan will address native forest restoration and tree planting for self-sustaining forestry operations, and endangered species recovery. The area is home to endangered Hawaiian petrels, and the restored forest is expected to improve habitat for numerous native plants and insects. Reforestation efforts will also help recharge the Makawao aquifer, securing clean drinking water for people for generations to come.
In the future, the property is intended to provide new recreational opportunities for Maui residents and visitors with hiking trails, places to picnic, and places to grow and gather forest products.
Federal funding from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, both funded as part of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), provided most of the funds needed. In the recently enacted Great American Outdoors Act, Congress provided permanent full and dedicated funding for the LWCF, which will support similar projects in Hawaiʻi in the future. State funding secured through legislative appropriation is providing the matching funds needed to complete the project.
“Our Maui delegation worked very hard to secure state funding to help with the purchase of the 3,433-acre Kamehamenui property in upper Kula,” noted Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English. “This area is beloved by many and we want to make sure that it is protected for future generations.” Representative Kyle Yamashita said, “I am proud to have been part of this collaborative effort. Thanks to the efforts of DLNR, TPL, and federal funding, this spectacular property will be preserved in perpetuity for the benefit of the public.”
Sources of funding for the $9,830,000 purchase:
U.S.D.A. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program – $3,830,000;
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Conservation Plan Acquisition Program – $2M;
State funding procured through legislative appropriation – $4M.