Ensuring Land is Protected Once the Deal is Done

Once the conservation values of a property are protected by a conservation easement the Land Trusts role becomes that of guardian. It is now our job to make sure that the agreement stipulated in the easement documents are upheld. This means that each year, as HILT’s Land Steward, I must visit each of the 38 easements spanning each of the five main islands, and make a physical inspection of every site.

This past week I made the rounds on the Island of Kauai which currently holds four easements and two fee-owned properties. I had also planned to check up on damage to an access trail easement that we’re currently working to acquire. I couldn't quite fit all the stops needed into a comfortable day so I made it an overnight trip. I was graciously hosted overnight at the home of one of our Kauai Island Council members. This is a group of local residents who act as our first line of advisers and as helping hands on the island. I started my day walking the scenic loi of Hanalei with the landowner, discussing current and future plans. Other stops included reviewing the impact of the floods on current easements and a future trail easement which was impacted by the storm. This damage will require revisions to our documents which seek to comprehensively describe the conditions of the property at the time the easement is first enacted. I had hoped to visit one of HILT’s fee-owned properties, called Wainiha Bay, but couldn’t as it was inaccessible due to road damage from the April floods. This is the smallest property owned and managed by HILT and is listed as Wainiha Bay Park on Google Maps. It’s a small strip running about one hundred yards long between Kuhio Highway and the beach and was acquired in 2008 by the Kauai Public Land Trust, one of the four predecessor organizations which incorporated in 2011 to become HILT. You can take a quick tour of the Wainiha property via Google’s street view.

Do you live in the area or know someone who does? Due to the road closure we haven’t been able to visit the site for our annual inspection and could use some help from a resident of the area to capture a few photos for us so that we can document the current conditions of the property. Please send us a current photo or two of this simple but happy place if you are able. You can send it directly to me here. Mahalo!

—James Crowe