HAMAKUA COAST, Hawaii – Kamehameha Schools is looking for a new lessee for its Hāmākua forestry operations.
In early 2017, the educational trust will conduct a search for a new tenant to oversee operations and harvesting of more than 10,000 acres of forest on the Hāmākua Coast. LHF Lopiwa LLC (LHF), the current tenant who owns the eucalyptus plantation lease in Hilo and Hāmākua, recently notified Kamehameha Schools that it will not seek an extension of its lease which expires on Saturday, Dec. 31.
On Jan. 3, 2017, Kamehameha Schools says it will seek qualifications from interested bidders to enter into a new agreement for the plantation forest. Minimum desired qualifications include operators with plantation forest management experience, marketing experience, modeling experience and harvesting experience, the school says.
Marissa Harman, Kamehameha Schools Director of Asset Management for Hawaiʻi island, says the community’s support is appreciated as the school continues working to develop a post-sugarcane era forest industry. “Kamehameha Schools remains committed to the forest industry and the stewardship of our lands, and we will harvest the existing eucalyptus forest.” Harman said in a media release. “We envision adjustments to our forest leasing and management practices in Hāmākua in response to lessons we have learned since acquiring the former Hāmākua Sugar property in 1994, and from input and suggestions shared by the Hāmākua community. Adjustments will include some lands being re-purposed for diversified agricultural use and community use, where appropriate.”
Kamehameha Schools is a private, educational, charitable Native Hawaiian trust founded in 1887 by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. The mission of the trust is to improve the “capability and wellbeing of our people through education”. 96 percent of Kamehameha Schools’ educational mission is funded by income generated from its endowment portfolio of Hawai`i commercial real estate and other diverse investments.
Kamehameha Schools says it dedicates more land to sustainable agriculture than any other private landowner in Hawai‘i and “is deeply committed to keeping its Hāmākua lands in productive agriculture and forestry.”