Pao’o Shoreline Near Kohala Protected

The County of Hawai’i, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the State of Hawai’i Legacy Land Conservation Program announced today the County’s successful acquisition of Pao’o, a 10.67-acre coastal parcel in Kohala near the County’s recent Kaiholena acquisition.

“With the acquisition of Pao’o, in addition to our earlier purchase of Kaiholena, we are putting together the largest and most significant shoreline access park in the state, rich in local historic and cultural significance, and with tremendous recreational opportunities for the benefit our Hawaii Island families,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “I’m extremely pleased that our partnership with the Trust for Public Land and state Legacy Land Conservation Commission has resulted in this acquisition of Pao’o, which demonstrates our commitment to work closely with state and private agencies to preserve our important lands for future generations.”

The property at Pao’o includes over 27 cultural and historical sites that are part of an extensive series of traditional Hawaiian fishing villages located along the Kohala coast, including the villages at the nearby Lapakahi State Historical Park listed on the State and National Historic Registers. The Hawai’i County Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (PONC) ranked this property #2 on its priority list for acquisition. The property is also located along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, a network of trails stretching 175 miles along the coastline of the island of Hawai’i.

Funds for the $1.89 million purchase price came from the State of Hawai’i Legacy Land Conservation Program administered by the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and the County PONC fund. $945,000 of the purchase price came from the State Legacy Land Conservation Program, which was created in 2005 and sets aside 10% of the state conveyance tax for real estate sold in Hawai’i for land conservation. $945,000 of PONC monies were tapped for the County’s purchase. The PONC fund was created in 2006 and sets aside 2% of real property taxes for land conservation.

Laura Thielen, Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which administers the State Legacy Land Conservation Program, stated, ” It is part of DLNR’s mission to protect Hawaii’s unique natural, cultural and historic resources; as a funding partner in this acquisition, the State has helped to place the lands in the hands of a partner that will work with surrounding community to steward and protect these resources.”

In cooperation with the County, the TPL secured private financing and purchased the property in April 2010 from the private landowner, Aloha Properties, LLC, in order to take the property off the market and ensure that the County would be able to acquire the property. TPL also assisted the County in applying for $945,000 from the State Legacy Land Conservation Program. TPL’s Hawaiian Islands Program Director, Lea Hong, stated: ” Pao’o is an amazing cultural legacy for the Big Island and the entire State of Hawai’i. The Trust for Public Land was happy to work with the landowner, the County, and the State Legacy Land Commission, to voluntarily conserve Pao’o where the public can enjoy continued access to the shoreline, and where important cultural sites can be treasured and conserved. We look forward to continuing to work with the County and the State to conserve special places throughout Hawai’i Island.”