Partnering for Preservation: The Pōhākea (Mā‘alaea Mauka) Project

Posted by Island Sotheby's International Realty on Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 at 9:35am

Photo: Courtesy of Trust for Public Land and Scott Drexler

Trust for Public Land (TPL), the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the County of Maui, and community supporters, jointly announced recently the purchase of the 257-acre Pōhākea property by the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. This event is a significant win for the Maui community, emphasizing the island's ongoing commitment to preserving its natural landscapes and cultural heritage. The property, also known as Māʻalaea Mauka, now includes essential resources like three wells and a 750,000-gallon water tank that will provide sustainable environmental benefits.

Photo: Courtesy of Trust for Public Land and Scott Drexler

The strategic acquisition of this land reflects a broader vision for conservation that integrates cultural heritage with modern environmental stewardship. By preserving this swath of land, we, as an island, ensure that future generations can enjoy and learn from Maui’s rich environmental tapestry.

Collaboration between the community, public and private sectors is key to accomplishing significant endeavors,” said Dawn Chang, DLNR Chair. “We look forward to seeing Pōhākea and its surrounding adjacent state lands flourish and serve as a model for successful collaborative community-based resource management.

Located between the ahupuaʻa of Ukumehame and Wailuku, the Pōhākea property will play a crucial role in local conservation efforts. Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Trust for Public Land, the State of Hawai‘i, the County of Maui, and strong community advocacy, this land will now be protected and utilized for various ecological and cultural activities. These include managing wildfire risks, enhancing public access to hiking trails, and protecting the scenic views of Māʻalaea Bay.

Mā‘alaea Bay itself is a site rich with history, known as a traditional Hawaiian canoe landing that holds significant historical and cultural value. Protecting this area maintains not only the ecological integrity but also the cultural narratives and history, including the historic Lāhainā Pali Trail.

The preservation of Pōhākea will help safeguard habitats for critical species like the Hawaiian hoary bat and the nēnē (Hawaiian goose), furthering efforts to conserve Maui's biodiversity. Additionally, this project aims to enhance water quality and protect the coral reefs in Māʻalaea Bay by addressing erosion and runoff issues, ensuring the ongoing health of this unique ecosystem.

This achievement is a testament to the power of community involvement and the importance of protecting our natural resources. We celebrate this milestone and are eager to continue supporting initiatives that help preserve the beauty and vitality of Maui for generations to come.

Trust for Public Land was pleased to put this property under contract and deed the land to the state, setting the stage for public management of the important resources on the land and to reduce wildfire risks, said Lea Hong, Associate Vice President of Trust for Public Land. This project is not only a vital conservation effort but can help to facilitate the health and safety of the surrounding communities for generations to come, and we’re grateful to the state, county, and community partners who worked collaboratively to achieve this significant milestone.

For more information on local conservation efforts and updates, follow us on our social media channels.



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