dale bonar

Executive Transition News

  As HILT embarks on a time of planned executive transition our work continues as usual. With the change this brings to the organization, comes a great surge of creative energy and opportunity. The conservation department is actively working on a number of land deals, while outreach/ fundraising committees are geared-up on new initiatives. The transition is being guided by a committee of board members, as well as the professional consulting firm La Piana Associates.

To keep you posted, here are a few key points:

  • Beginning September 1 and through the end of the year Dale will transition into the advisory role of director emeritus. In this time, though effectively retired, he will remain at an arm’s length as a resource to councils, board, and staff, as well as the many conservation organizations he networks with on HILT’s behalf.
  • Anders Lyons has phased into the role of interim director. Previously Anders served as associate director, he has valuable experience guiding organizations through times of transition. Dale, who will remain on staff during this time, will phase out of the executive role and be focused on completing details specific to the transition.
  • The nationwide executive director search has begun and the complete job description is available HERE.

Honoring Dale: A tireless advocate for land conservation in Hawai‘i, without Dale we would not be where we are today—with over 17,500 acres conserved forever. We are grateful for his dedication in the last ten years, and especially now through this planned transition period. Please join us in bidding a formal farewell to Dale at our Annual Picnic at the Waihee Refuge, Maui, on September 22. At Dale's suggestion well-wishers can make a contribution to the HILT Capacity Fund, a fund most dear to his heart. (Although, he also added that he’d love invitations on amazing scuba diving adventures and has confirmed his availability to travel around the globe.)

Questions? Comments? We welcome the opportunity to talk with you directly. Please feel free to call, email, or even Tweet us.

Interim Director, Anders Lyons, (808) 244-5263 Director of Conservation, Scott Fisher , (808) 244-5263 Kaua‘i Director, Jennifer Luck, (808) 755-5707 Director of Operations, Monica George, (808) 244-5263 Director of Outreach, Sara Smith , (808) 244-5263

All "Trusts" Not Created Equal


The Descendants movie posterMusings from our executive director, Dale B. Bonar, Ph.D: As I write this the Oscar Awards are upon us and “The Descendants”, a movie about ownership and responsibility of significant family lands in Hawai‘i, is up for Best Picture. In a nutshell, the movie is about family conflicts in determining the best disposition of the lands as the fictional “King Family Trust” prepares to disperse its assets.

Since the movie’s release, several folks have expressed concern to me over something they learned from the movie, that there is a “Rule Against Perpetuity” stating that  “trusts” must disperse their assets after a set time (typically within 21 years after the death of the last named beneficiary).

Well then, how can a Land Trust claim to protect land “in perpetuity”? Because we can.

The answer is straightforward: Land Trusts are not “that” kind of trust.  By virtue of being a charitable nonprofit, there are both federal and state statutes which allow Land Trusts to hold land assets (both fee interests and conservation easements) permanently.  And, in the unlikely event a Land Trust could not effectively oversee its land assets, there are provisions in place to assure all such assets would be assigned to appropriate entities that would continue to protect the conservation values.

So rest assured, while not all trusts are created equal, the Land Trust is yours in perpetuity.


Maui Harley-Davidson Group Donates $500

This weekend a donation vroomed up to us, seemingly out of nowhere.

One thing about land conservation is the broad spectrum of end beneficiaries, essentially anyone who appreciates being outdoors. While we are aware that the benefits of our work reach far and wide, we were still tickled to receive a call from the Maui Harley-Davisdon Owners Group—the Maui HOGs. The group had chosen HILT as a beneficiary of their recent fundraiser. Their instructions were concise: meet at the Maui Harley-Davisdon dealership Sunday morning to receive the donation and pose for a photo. Our minds raced—would there be a huge biker gang there complete with lots of chrome, black leather and revving engines? Should Dale be brushing off his chaps? In the end there were a just a few polite folks there, and they were eager to get on their way with their standing Sunday bike cruise around the island. Maui HOG members Joe Cabebe (also the store manager), Rich Serbin, and Morgan Sheilds handed us five crisp hundred dollar bills, we snapped some pictures, and in a few short minutes the transaction was complete. Their message was just as brief: We like the work you do.

Well, thank you Maui HOGs, not just for the donation, but for the reminder that saving the open spaces and precious places in Hawaii Nei is appreciated widely by the diverse (and sometime unexpected) spectrum of our island communities. What a great way to start our workweek.


HILT Executive Director, Board Members on Hawaii Public Radio

Ulupalakua Ranch's Sumner Erdman, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust Executive Director Dale Bonar, and Board Members Peter Merriman and Donna Howard sit down with Bob Sandla of Hawaii Public Radio's (HPR) "Business of the Arts" to discuss the reasons for unifying separate island land trusts under one state-wide umbrella.

Click here to have a listen. Click here to download an MP3 of the podcast.