AP

Hawaii national park gets land where ancient villages stood

Jul 12, 2022, 1:40 PM | Updated: 4:45 pm

Pohue Bay on Hawaii's Big Island is pictured April 11, 2022. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the ...

Pohue Bay on Hawaii's Big Island is pictured April 11, 2022. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, was given new land in a deal that will protect and manage an ocean bay area that is home to endangered and endemic species and to rare, culturally significant Native Hawaiian artifacts. (Trust for Public Land via AP)

(Trust for Public Land via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island was given new land on Tuesday in a deal that will protect and manage a pristine white sand beach and ocean bay area that is home to endangered and endemic species and to rare, culturally significant Native Hawaiian artifacts.

Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land preservation group, transferred its ownership of Pohue Bay and surrounding land to the National Park Service.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has the world’s largest and most active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Most of the coastline where the bay is located is made of ancient lava flows, black rock and sea cliffs that dart out into the ocean.

Pohue Bay, a rare and idyllic oasis in an otherwise rugged landscape, is home to endangered hawksbill sea turtles, green sea turtles, endangered Hawaiian monk seals and other species found only in Hawaii. The area houses anchialine ponds — landlocked pools with a mix of fresh and salt water — where rare Hawaiian red shrimp called ?opae?ula live.

The area is also culturally significant because it has remains of ancient Hawaiian villages, petroglyphs, burial sites and the largest known abrader tool quarry in the state, according to the Trust for Public Lands. Abraders are ancient tools used for sanding, smoothing and grinding.

Park officials hope to eventually open the area up to the public, but the 26 square miles (67 square kilometers) of land will remain closed to visitors as national park staff consult with local experts and residents to better understand the various cultural sites.

The addition brings the total park size to 554 square miles (1,425 square kilometers), almost as large as the entire island of Oahu.

While the park has recently acquired a few small parcels of land in the same area, the donation is the park’s largest addition since 2003, when about 156 square miles (404 square kilometers) of land was incorporated.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh in a statement called the Pohue Bay area “an incredibly precious and culturally significant landscape that needs to be protected.”

She added: “The park is working to develop an interim operating plan for Pohue that explores opportunities for public use compatible with resource protection.”

Trust for Public Land acquired the privately owned land on Tuesday and gave it to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park the same day.

The parcel stretching from the southwest coast of Hawaii Island up to the national park was purchased for $9.4 million with funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and a donation from the Wyss Foundation. The land had previously been the target of several resort proposals, Trust for Public Land said.

“We are grateful the National Park Service will steward the area, ensuring the history, culture and natural beauty of this place are protected for future generations,” Trust for Public Land Associate Vice President Lea Hong, who leads the Hawaii division for the organization, said in a statement.

Hong emphasized the role locals have played in preserving the land, fighting off pressure from developers and others to keep the area natural.

“It’s really a testament to decades of community concern and love for that area,” Hong said. “It’s a testament to the community’s dedication to conserving the coastline that this project will happen.”

___

This story has been updated to correct that Hawaiian red shrimp are rare but not endangered.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

1 day ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

1 day ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

2 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

2 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

4 days ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Hawaii national park gets land where ancient villages stood