HONOKA’A, Hawaii – The need for a Waipiʻo Valley Heritage Center was recently discussed for inclusion in the Hamakua Community Development Plan as a possible “county action”.
The meeting was held May 18 at the North Hawaii Education and Research Center in Honoka’a, where planners worked with the community to look into ways the county can help preserve Waipiʻo Valley “as a wahi pana, focusing on protecting natural ecosystems, viewsheds, streams, managing responsible access, and perpetuating Hawaiian culture.” (draft CDP)
Hawaii County planner LeAna Gloor led the discussion, which involved long-time valley residents and taro farmers. The draft Hamakua CDP is currently in draft form and is being vetted in public meetings.
This is part of a video series that will feature the Hamakua CDP – Waipiʻo Valley discussion. The entire collection of videos will be available here:
Hamakua CDP – Policy 60
from DRAFT Hamakua CDP
Develop the Waipiʻo Valley Heritage Center, including:
- Support for its related Educational Programs such as the Waipiʻo Education and Information Program (aka: Waipiʻo Valley Rangers Program).
- Support community-based management of the Waipiʻo Valley Heritage Center through a lease or cooperative use agreement with the County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Rationale: The County has already purchased a 1.804-acre site for the Visitor Center at the Waipiʻo Valley Lookout (TMK (3)4-8-004:006), which is listed as a Natural Beauty Site in the General Plan Table 7-7. The Waipiʻo Circle, a group of Valley residents and others, have started the planning and manual site clearing for this facility. This policy seeks to prioritize CIP funding to design and construct the Visitor Center.
The Waipiʻo Education and Information Program was funded by two Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Natural Resources grants obtained by the County Department of Research and Development (R&D). The purpose of the program is to place guides at the entrance the Valley who will educate visitors about the Valley’s history, its cultural importance, and its unique challenges as actively cultivated agricultural land in a fragile ecosystem. Waipiʻo Valley is the second most visited location on Hawai‘i Island. The grant funding has lapsed, and the County budgeted $70,000 in the 2013/14 Operating Budget to continue this program until the funds are depleted. Recognizing that this is a valuable resource, this policy seeks to explore continuous funding mechanisms for the program, which may need to be developed as a new Department of Parks and Recreation program.
The County Department of Parks and Recreation enters into agreements with various community groups for similar community-based management. This policy supports the community-based management of the Waipiʻo Valley Heritage Center.
For more information, see pages 224-270 of Appendix V4A.