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HTA funding Pololu Trail Steward Program

As the number of visitors to the Pololu Valley lookout, trail and coast rapidly increase, the need to mitigate the impacts to the community and the area’s natural and cultural resources grows.

In response to requests from the community the Hawaii Tourism Authority is funding the Pololu Trail Steward Program, a pilot project in collaboration with KUPU, Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program and the lineal descendent community of Pololu, Makanikahio and neighboring ahupuaa.

The goal is to use local “stewards” to assist with interpreting the natural and cultural history of the area, as well as mitigate unwanted behaviors and ensure safety.

The partners hope the project can serve as a model for collaborations with local communities to manage the impact of tourism on Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources, to include steering visitors towards safe, responsible behaviors while enjoying the destination, the HTA said.

The Na Ala Hele Trails and Access Program, which is part of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources will hire four part-time stewards, through KUPU, for the pilot project.

From August through January 2022, the stewards will assist with visitor management, safety and trail maintenance, as well as share their knowledge of the Pololu area with visitors.

Pololu valley is a hotspot identified as part of HTA’s Hawaii Island Destination Management Action Plan, which, in part, calls to protect and preserve culturally significant places and hotspots.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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