‘Ulupalakua Ranch

Size: 11,051 acres
Year Protected: 2009
Land Protection Strategy: Agricultural easement
Conservation Values: Working agricultural lands, native wildlife habitat, watershed
Land Features: Pasturelands, dry land forest

ABOUT ‘Ulupalakua ranch

Wiliwili trees at ‘Auwahi.  Courtesy of Ku‘ulei Kuala‘au.

Wiliwili trees at ‘Auwahi.  Courtesy of Ku‘ulei Kuala‘au.

Land conservation protects areas for the working farms and ranches that help feed us, like these 11,000 acres preserved by The Erdman Family.  The views and wide-open expanses nourish us on another level.  

The Erdman family, owners of ‘Ulupalakua Ranch, made a historic land preservation agreement by preserving over 11,000 acres along the leeward slopes of Haleakala as a working ranch and wildlife habitat.  Although the purpose of this perpetual easement is to assure the lands are always protected for agricultural uses, a corollary benefit is the permanent protection of one of Maui's most iconic views: the rolling green hills of ‘Ulupalakua.  This is the largest-ever voluntary easement donation in the state of Hawai‘i.

The agriculture easement agreements apply to two large contiguous parcels, including an approximate 6,000 acres on the western slopes of the ranch, mauka of the highway and extending from ranch headquarters up to the boundary of Poli Poli State Park. This area is primarily used for livestock grazing, farming and agri-farming.  The second parcel consists of the entire ‘Auwahi ahupua‘a, a 5,328 rectangular parcel running lengthwise from the ocean shore up the mountain to 6,000 ft. elevation.  The mauka portion of this ahupua‘a is home to the ‘Auwahi Habitat Restoration Project, and is part of the Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership.

The vision to safeguard their family-run ranching operation and the perpetuity of Ulupalakua's natural areas and open vistas drove the Erdman's decision to form this agreement with the Land Trust.

Fifty years ago I was surveying the island for development sights when I ended up in Wailea and had the chance to look up to see the marvelous green hills of ‘Ulupalakua. Little did I know I’d be saving it someday.
— Pardee Erdman, owner of ‘Ulupalakua Ranch.