Kamehamenui Forest

Kamehamenui Forest featured image

The Trust for Public Land helped the State of Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) acquire Kamehamenui, on the north slopes of Haleakalā (the historic 3,433-acre Von Tempsky’s Erehwon Ranch). DOFAW will consult with the community regarding management of the property, which may include planting native hardwoods for sustainable forestry and opening the property for public recreation. Reforestation will help the watershed recharge to ensure clean drinking water for the future. Keeping the property undeveloped will preserve the area’s majestic view planes and endangered species.

Kamehamenui Forest can provide access and opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. It links to the Kula Forest Reserve and can create a wide network for recreational purposes while DOFAW management of the property will provide for upkeep of trails to increase suitability for family recreation.

The lower two-thirds of Kamehamenui are ideal for reforestation with native and compatible timber. Koa reforestation, which is successful on neighboring lands, will support an understory of other native trees and increase habitat for native bird and plant species.

The County of Maui estimates water demand on the northwest slopes of Haleakalā and Wailuku will increase by 46.5% by 2030. This property recharges the Makawao aquifer, and reforestation will greatly increase its ability to replenish the aquifer. Watershed partnerships will be provided access for management that has been denied due to private ownership.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed as Endangered birds (nēnē, Hawaiian petrels), bats (ōpeʻapeʻa –Hawaiian hoary bats – the only land mammal native to Hawai‘i), and eight plant species (including the Haleakalā silversword) that are found on or near Kamehamenui.

The Pacific Island Climate Change Cooperative identified climate change as a major threat to Hawai‘i’s forest birds and other endangered species. For example, disease-carrying mosquitos climb in elevation with increasing temperatures and temperature increases at lower elevations threaten native plants. Protecting this property with management by DOFAW will help these species survive into the future.

Kamehamenui abuts the State Kula Forest Reserve and Haleakalā National Park. Acquisition will strengthen connectivity of a contiguous network (108,000 acres) of state, federal and private non-profit reserves created to conserve Maui’s forest resources in perpetuity.