Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Wai Koa Plantation Announce Agreement to Protect the Popular Wai Koa Loop Trail on Kauai

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Wai Koa Plantation announced today that that an agreement has been reached to preserve the popular Wai Koa Loop Trail in Kīlauea Kauaʻi.

Joan Porter, owner of Wai Koa Plantation stated, “My family and I are very pleased to work with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust to protect and preserve this popular walking trail for the people of Kauai.  Wai Koa was very special to my husband, Bill, and I know he would be deeply grateful for the opportunity to conserve it in perpetuity.” The agreement will ensure that the trail and access to the scenic Stone Dam will be preserved for future generations.

“The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is excited that this trail which provides significant scenic and outdoor recreational opportunities for Kauai’s residents will be preserved and continue to provide for the health and well-being of the people of Kauai,” said HILT CEO Kawika Burgess.

The Wai Koa Loop Trail is a 4.5-mile hiking trail located in Kilauea Kauai and can be accessed through the Anaina Hou Community Park located at 5-2723 Kuhio Highway in Kilauea, Kauai. The hike is free, but hikers are asked to sign a waiver at Anaina Hou where maps of the trail are also available. The trail provides beautiful views of the Namahana Mountains, an historic stone dam, the Kilauea Forest, as well as the largest mahogany plantation in the United States. The trail is open from 9:00 am to dusk and takes between 2.5 to 4 hours to complete the hike. For more information about the trail visit: http://anainahou.org/park-features/the-wai-koa-loop-trail/.

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust Announces Protection of Kapalua Open Space

Hikers enjoy the Kapalua Coastal Trail

Hikers enjoy the Kapalua Coastal Trail

KAPALUA, Maui — January 7, 2019 — Hawaiian Islands Land Trust announced today that the Sue D. Cooley Trust (“Cooley Trust”) has donated a conservation easement to preserve a 1.2-acre property in Kapalua, Maui and a substantial gift to support HILT’s Maui Island Program.  

Bob Gilliom, representing the Cooley Trust stated, “Our family is very pleased to work with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust to protect and preserve this land as an open space along the Kapalua Coastal Trail and to support HILT’s conservation efforts on Maui. The conservation easement will ensure that the land will remain as open space for future generations.”   The land will be owned and managed by Kapalua Resort Association, who will work closely with HILT to maintain and enhance the land as permanent open space.

“The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is very thankful to the Sue D. Cooley Trust for their efforts to preserve this land in West Maui and for their incredible generosity and support for our work to protect and steward the most special places here on Maui,” said HILT CEO Kawika Burgess.

Request for Proposals

ORGANIZATION: Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) is a nationally accredited 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that protects over 18,000 acres of land in Hawaii with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitat, water resources, cultural and historical sites, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Established in 2011 as a merger of four land trusts on Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai, HILT complements the stewardship others are providing for mountaintop watersheds by concentrating largely on needs and opportunities for coastal and agricultural lands.

SUMMARY: Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is seeking proposals for a contract to support HILT’s land acquisition and protection program including the acquisition of conservation easements and fee simple projects in Hawaii.


  • Work with HILT staff, board of directors, advisors, and island councils to develop and implement a three-year strategic acquisitions strategy and outreach strategy.

  • Conduct outreach to prospective landowners to promote conservation easements and voluntary conservation programs available to landowners.

  • Coordinate outreach with other providers of conservation programs including the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service to provide a minimum of four (4) public outreach forums on agricultural easements.

  • Manage fee simple and conservation easement acquisitions including negotiation of Letters of Intent, Purchase and Sale Agreements, Conservation Easements, Baseline Documentation Reports, and Management Plans.

  • Conduct due diligence, order and review transaction documents including title reports, appraisals, surveys, and environmental studies.

  • Communication and coordinate with communities, stakeholders, and others involved in HILT’s land protection projects.

  • Help facilitate the approval of projects through the HILT Land Committee and Board of Directors.

  • Assist in the drafting and manage grant application for funding of HILT’s acquisitions through City, State, Federal, and private grant programs.

  • Manage transactions through to closing.

  • Provide updates and regular communications to HILT’s CEO, HILT Board of Directors, Island Councils, and HILT staff.


Will require regular travel to neighbor islands


  • Passion for the mission of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust

  • Three years of experience in land conservation and real estate transactions

  • Ability to negotiate land transactions

  • Knowledge of Hawaii and county land use laws

  • Knowledge of Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources

  • Bachelor’s degree

Parties interested in submitting a proposal for the Scope of Work provided, please submit the following to info@hilt.org.

  1. Statement of Qualifications

  2. Hourly Rate

  3. Three (3) References

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

Community-Based Conservation: A Tradition of Connecting People and Place

Man is a part of nature, and both can thrive when we are working together in harmony. Indigenous cultures around the world have recognized, honored, and cultivated this delicate interconnection between people and place for generations. At Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, this practice of collectively caring for our natural and cultural resources continues through our community-based conservation efforts. We believe that valuable knowledge is gained through hands-on experience, and that the lands of Hawaii offer unique lessons to those who care for them.

HILT connects residents and visitors to special places on our preserves across Hawai‘i. We envision a Hawaii that makes the tradition of mālama āina a way of life. HILT’s education efforts seek to inform and connect people to place. Our efforts to understand, protect, and steward our lands reach from keiki to kupuna. We share the sites and stories of our wahi pana and participate in the collective nurturing of the āina. If you have not already, please come out to the land and be a part of this tradition.

Over 2,000 residents and visitors help in HILT’s ecological restoration efforts across the islands each year. They do so through corporate partnership programs, our popular Talk Story on the Land hikes, our regular volunteer days, or the āina-based education programs with one of the dozens of schools and educational organizations we host at our preserves. We are grateful to our partners for the privilege to protect and share these lands with them.

In 2017, this long list of partners included:


Since 2007, the Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge has served as an outdoor classroom for Pōmaikai Elementary School. Last year, we hosted over 500 students from Pōmaikai Elementary School, who learned about the Refuge, conservation practices, and the part they play continuing the centuries-old ethic of mālama āina.


Maunawila Heiau and Cultural Preserve is managed and cared for by a network of community groups, HILT, and local education institutions. In 2017, HILT’s community outreach manager and cultural anthropologist, Rebekah Walker, helped lead HILT’s community-based conservation partnership, and the coordination of our collective outreach and restoration efforts connecting over 2,000 participants in our efforts. We see community-based conservation in action every month at Maunawila, with regular volunteer work days, Talk Story on the Land hikes, and educational programming with many of the area schools and community.


HILT’s Kauai Island Council members participate in a broad public-private partnership that seeks to mālama the iconic Kāhili Beach Preserve on Kauai. Together with the Kīlauea Neighborhood Association, Āina Hookupu o Kīlauea, and United States Fish & Wildlife Service, community volunteers actively work to restore not just the land, but the local tradition of responsibly and sustainably caring for this precious resource. HILT is grateful to these stewards, who regularly come together to remove marine and other debris from Kāhili’s shores, clear invasive species, and ensure the continued resilience that a clean and beautiful ecosystem provides.


Hawaii’s natural areas provide abundant opportunities for community-based conservation. Connect with us as we grow these invaluable partnerships across the islands. Join us to learn and share lessons about the land, its history, and traditions, as we engage in their care, stewardship, and protection. We can’t do community-based conservation without you! We have many opportunities to share these lessons, so please click here for upcoming hikes, work days, and other special events.