About the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
HILT takes a uniquely Hawaiian and holistic approach to land conservation. We conserve lands that enable Hawai'i's long-term well-being, lands with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitats, water resource areas, cultural and historical values, and outdoor recreation opportunities. We seek to complement the stewardship others are providing for mountaintop watersheds by concentrating largely on needs and opportunities for coastal and agricultural lands. HILT protects land primarily through the use of Conservation Easements held in perpetuity.
We also have fee-simple ownership of strategically situated public preserves throughout the Hawaiian Islands. By providing access and restoring and protecting cultural and native plant and animal habitats, we are able to showcase good stewardship practices and foster meaningful community experiences with nature for all who visit these sites.
We also assist owners who have a deep appreciation for the beauty and importance of their lands and wish to ensure long-term protection of their lands' conservation values. We support them by holding and monitoring perpetual Conservation Easements and providing other support services and counsel through our network of relationships with government agencies and other conservation partners.
Our Mission Is Simple: To Protect The Lands That Sustain Us For Current And Future Generations.
OUR PROMISE, AUDACIOUS: PERPETUITY.
The lands sustains us quite literally, from the rich fertile soils for our local farms and ranches to provide local food and produce, to our native forests and watersheds providing our drinking water, our coastlines and beaches providing the recreational, emotional rejuvenation after a long week, or our historical and cultural landscapes where we pass on the traditional and cultural practices of these islands. These lands provide the very essence and foundation for our quality of life in Hawai‘i.
Founded in January 2011, through a merger of four island land trusts, HILT today represents the combined skill and resources of our four island-based organizations that decided to join forces to take land conservation in Hawaii to the next level; Hawaii Island Land Trust, Maui Coastal Land Trust, Oahu Land Trust, and Kauai Public Land Trust. Collectively, we have protected over 18,000 acres of Hawaii's most precious lands and natural resources from Kau on Hawaii Island to Hanalei, Kauai.
Land Acquisition and Protection:
HILT works with private landowners, community groups, and government partners to protect Hawaii’s precious lands. To date HILT has completed over 40 projects and conserved over 18,000 acres of lands primarily through fee simple acquisition and conservation agreements with private landowners to protect the lands from development and urbanization and to preserve the natural and cultural resources on the land.
Land Stewardship and Monitoring:
HILT currently owns and stewards 5 preserves containing over 389 acres which are open to the public and each containing unique natural and cultural resources. In addition to HILT’s preserves, the organization monitors and provides stewardship of over 30 conservation easements protecting over 17,300 of Hawaii’s agricultural lands, watersheds, wildlife habitat, recreational areas, historical and cultural sites, and scenic vistas.
Education and Outreach:
Over 2,000 students and visitors each year visit and engage in HILT’s popular “Talk Story on the Land” environmental education program of guided hikes on HILT’s protected properties. In addition, HILT staff conduct regular volunteer days to engage the community in stewardship projects on HILT properties. HILT also conducts outreach to Hawaii’s landowners, business groups, trade associations, and other organizations to share the benefits of voluntary land conservation.
Policy and Advocacy:
HILT is a non-political, non-partisan organization that promotes voluntary land conservation in Hawaii. HILT advocates for policies at the national, state, and local level that support local land conservation initiatives including tax incentives and public funding of land conservation.