(BIVN) – A large, coastal land parcel in Ka’ū, south of Naʻalehu, was under discussion at the May 13 meeting of the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission held in Hilo.
The commission’s duty is to prioritize lands, based on community input, and submit a list to the County administration as recommendations for purchase using the 2% land fund.
Keone Fox of the Ala Kahakai Trail Association talked to the commission about the lands known as Manākaʻa Fishing Village.
“There is a road, I should say an old Ranch Road that enters through the shopping center and crosses through about four or five mauka properties which are now owned by the Galimbas,” Fox said, “but our intention was really to promote use of the trail as a way to access the property.”
“We’d really like to promote use of the trail to access the property,” Fox said. “There are two mauka-makai trails though that do connect. One connects Waikapuna with Naʻalehu, the other connects the fishing village with Naʻalehu, and it is possible that we may be able to work with the Galimbas. They have hikes during the year, where we invite the public to use the mauka-makai trails and we are in discussions on that.”
According to commissioner Rick Warshaeur, who went on a recent site visit, the parcel is owned by LLC Kawala of Waimea, “and the property is platted at 218.6 acres on the tax maps and looks small. But in a 2018 survey, the parcel was determined to be actually 348 acres. It’s land use designation is ag except for the makai part near the pali which is designated conservation.”
“The protection of the coastline has been a long-standing goal of the community,” Warshaeur said. “This property has 1.2 miles of coastline, and adjacent to it on the makai end is a piece of state land that’s in between it and the Kahilipali-Waikapuna property.”
“Going the other direction, the trail will connect up to another property that I know the public is interested in; Kauna Manō,” Warshaeur added.
“The position of this property is special,” Warshaeur continued. “It’s a really old piece of the landscape. The landscape has a natural prominence. If you look at the geological map, it’s surrounded by various faults which is left it sitting higher than a lot of the joining properties. It shares that situation with the easternmost part of the Kahilipali-Waikapuna property. So as a consequence it gets a one a really good view. The area is really old geologically, which is why so much ash has accumulated. It has been used for agriculture for a very long time, so as a consequence the only substantive native plants were right along the pali. So its importance would be less for native organisms and more for its view, its cultural significance, and as mentioned earlier, the protection of the coastline along that trail.”
“The kipuka that I’m talking about makes up most of the property and extends a little bit outside the property,” Warshaeur said, “and it has been surrounded by a very old stone wall, but if you go further towards Kahilipali towards the southwest you get into the younger lava flow which is still quite old and still has decent soil. That’s where the Manākaʻa village site is located.”
“It’s mostly over grown,” Warshaeur said, “and as such, it’s protected because it’s not obvious where all the features are, and I think such protection would really help in the long run as people access it, as it’s not putting the features at risk.”