(BIVN) – The Kaʻū lands of Waikapuna, Kahilipaliʻiki, and Kahilipalinui are the number one priority for preservation, according to the 2018 Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission Report to the Mayor.
The 2,209 acres of land contains remnants of an ancient field system and the famous coastal village site of Waikapuna, the report says. The Ala Kahakai Trail traverses the area.
“This piece is a vital portion of coastal Kaʻū,” the report reads. The land is “planned by the community for protection but for sale for development if this public purchase is not made.”
The PONC report says the owner has been in negotiations to sell specifically to the Ala Kahakai Trail Association and the Trust For Public Land, and has signed a letter of intent. Hawaiʻi County will receive a conservation easement. $2 million in Legacy Lands Conservation Program funds has been made available for a portion of the purchase.
If the sale goes through, the report says the anticipated use of the parcels includes “open public pedestrian access to and along the shoreline,” with “controlled vehicular access to shore at Waikapuna and camping permit.”
Leasing of portions of the lands to local ranchers for grazing, as well as the leasing of three communications towers, will continue. “Lease rents will provide long-term management funding, so that management is not dependent upon public funding,” the report states.
A management plan will also be prepared with partners.