Agreement Would Help Protect O’ahu’s N. Shore

Honolulu, HI:  The US Army today entered into a cooperative agreement with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) to help protect as open space the 1,129-acre Pupukea-Paumalu property adjacent to the Army’s Kahuku Training Area. The agreement calls for the Army to provide funding for an effort by TPL, the North Shore Community Land Trust, the State of Hawai`i and Honolulu County to purchase and protect the parcel that dominates large bluffs along the North Shore.

The forested Pūpūkea-Paumalū property borders popular Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps in addition to the military training area, and is slated for luxury home development. The public purchase and protection of the lands will help preserve the water quality and the scenic beauty of world-famous surf breaks at Sunset Beach, Rocky Point, Pipeline and Log Cabins. In addition, a purchase will protect the native Hawaiian plants, cultural sites, state water reserves and WWII historic sites found on the property, as well as providing agricultural, hiking, and educational opportunities for both local residents and visitors.

“This is beneficial for the Army and for the people of Hawai`i,” said Colonel David Anderson after the signing. “The Army can contribute to the conservation effort without actually owning the land. We only want this special area to be protected forever.” The Army is interested in limiting development adjacent to training areas on O’ahu, and in setting aside areas for the conservation of native plant and animal habitat outside Army lands.

“The Trust for Public Land and our partners at the North Shore Community Land Trust, the State of Hawaii, and the County of Honolulu are excited to work with the Army to make these incredible lands at Pupukea-Paumal?uopen to the community. This broad coalition will protect one of Hawaii’s most famous and beautiful coastal areas,” said Teresa McHugh, director of TPL’s Hawai’i Field Office.

Under the agreement, the Army plans a $3 million contribution toward the land purchase from the federal Army Compatible Use Buffer program. The landowner has stated an asking price of $12 million for the property, although actual market value has not yet been determined. TPL and the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT), a local nonprofit actively involved in protecting the rural character of the North Shore of O’ahu, are seeking additional funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the State of Hawai’i and Honolulu County.

Blake McElheny of the North Shore Community Land Trust said “The Army’s contribution will provide additional key funding for the purchase of Pupukea Paumalu, and assist the land trust’s long range goal of protecting the fragile rural character of the North Shore of O’ahu.”

Once the land is purchased, the large upper portion will be turned over to Hawai’i States Parks to be used for hiking, outdoor education, native plant restoration and agricultural and forestry activities. A smaller lower portion will go the Honolulu County as a possible expansion of Sunset Beach Community Park. Stewardship and management responsibilities for the land will be shared with community organizations.

TPL is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people. Established in San Francisco in 1972, TPL has protected nearly 2 million acres nationwide as community gardens, parks, greenways, and wilderness areas. In Hawai’i, TPL has protected more than 2,000 acres including Wai?hole Beach Park in windward O’ahu and an addition to Ka’ala Farm in Wai’anae. TPL’s office in Honolulu works with community groups, public agencies, and private and corporate landowners to conserve land important to local communities here in Hawai’i.