HONOLULU — The Trust for Public Land celebrated its 50th project with the Dec. 11 announcement of the purchase and transfer of Halulu Fishpond Access to Waipa Foundation in Hanalei.
In a collaborative effort, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and local supporters, including Waipa Foundation, County of Kaua‘i and the state of Hawai‘i raised more than $1.3 million to secure the one-quarter acre property in the Waipa ahupua‘a and successfully transferring it to Waipa Foundation.
This 50th TPL project represents a significant milestone for the community and its cultural heritage, securing a permanent presence on Kaua‘i’s North Shore, and ensuring its long-term protection and accessibility.
Known as the Halulu Fishpond Access, the property includes a community path to Waipa’s coastal zone along Hanalei Bay, and part of the fishpond itself.
“When Hawaiian lands and people flourish, the rest of Hawai‘i does, too,” said Reyna Ramolete, the Aloha ‘Aina Project Manager for TPL. “We are humbled to partner with the Kaua‘i community to preserve this storied place and ensure Waipa Foundation can continue to care for Halulu Fishpond and the Hanalei coastline, training the next generation of ‘aina stewards.”
TPL led and facilitated the acquisition, and the Kaua‘i community united to raise the public funds to purchase the land from Waioli Corporation, and protect and convey the property to Waipa Foundation, whose ownership will secure its permanent presence on the North Shore and ensuring that the land can continue to feed, inspire, and nurture community resilience.
The County of Kaua‘i’s Public Access, Open Spaces and Natural Resources Preservation Fund contributed $850,000, and the state of Hawai‘i Capital Improvement Program and Legacy Land Conservation Program contributed $450,000 toward the conservation purchase.
“We are honored to play a role in protecting this parcel that preserves open space, agriculture, and community access to Halulu Fishpond and the Hanalei coast for future generations,” said Senate President Ron Kouchi in a statement.
The property is now encumbered by a perpetual conservation easement, the first of its kind held by the County of Kaua‘i, that restricts the land to cultural, conservation, and agricultural uses, as well as a permanent deed restriction required by the state.
“We are thrilled to support the community-led protection of Halulu Fishpond Access, and thank all involved in this effort,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami in a statement. “This acquisition further empowers Waipa to continue its inspirational programs and stewardship of the land while keeping the Hawaiian culture and values at the forefront for many years to come.”
Waipa Foundation was established 30 years ago by local farmers and families determined to save space for Hawaiian practices, people and values. As the new property owner, the nonprofit will continue to use the land as a living learning center to educate the community through hands-on experience.
“We are grateful to Trust for Public Land, the County of Kaua‘i, the state of Hawai‘i and Waioli Corporation for supporting us in protecting this critical coastal parcel and community access to Halulu Fishpond,” said Executive Director for Waipa Foundation Stacy Sproat. “Halulu Fishpond will remain a welcoming gateway to Waipa makai for those who want to learn and care for this ‘aina.”
Thousands of community members walk through the property each year to learn about, steward, and enjoy the fishpond, coastline and estuary. Waipa Foundation inspires local entrepreneurial spirit with weekly farmers markets and seasonal food festivals, and hosts enrichment programs for keiki to learn about culture, food, and leadership.
“Thank you to Trust for Public Land for working with us to conserve this special parcel,” said President of Waioli Corporation Sam Pratt. “Waioli is happy that Waipa Foundation will steward the property in a balanced and responsible manner to help sustain the people of Kaua‘i, and the entire community.”
The acquisition and transfer of Halulu Fishpond Access to Waipa Foundation marks TPL’s 50th project in the islands as the organization celebrates 50 years of serving Hawai‘i. TPL has protected more than 77,000 acres across Maui, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island, Moloka‘i and O‘ahu, and connected more than 27,000 community members to outdoor spaces.
Source: The Garden Island