A Good Year for Conservation and Legacy Lands in Hawaiʻi

The announcement by Hawaiʻi Land Trust that 642 acres at Mahukona, North Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi has been protected capped off a year of conservation and legacy lands milestones in Hawaiʻi. Hawaiʻi Life is proud to be a collaborator and contributor to these efforts. Here is sampling of the breadth of these preservation efforts across the pae ʻāina (state).

The Mahukona Navigational and Ecological Complex 

The Mahukona Navigational and Ecological Complex  – 642 acres of cultural and ecological significance preserved on the North Kohala Coast

Dillingham Ranch – A Legacy Lands Transaction Brokered by Hawaiʻi Life

When we began our specialized practice area in “Conservation and Legacy Lands” in 2018, we recognized that many times important places in Hawaiʻi – as elsewhere – are preserved through the efforts of private owners, in addition to those we place in the hands of government or non-profit stewardship. Dillingham Ranch on the North Shore of Oʻahu is an example of a historic property that will now remain a working ranch rather than being developed into a high end subdivision. Hawaiʻi Life represented seller and buyer on this $34.5 million transaction for a 2,740-acre property including an oceanfront polo field.

Aerial view of Dillingham Ranch Oahu

Aerial view with outline of the 2,740-acre historic Dillingham Ranch property sold in 2023

Preserving Entire Corridors of Significance on Hawaiʻi Island and Maui

I wrote of attending a meeting of the State Conservation and Legacy Land Commission in December 2018 in support of the County of Hawaiʻi PONC (open space fund) which was seeking matching funds to purchase a 93-acre oceanfront parcel I had listed at Kapanaiʻa, North Kohala. I wrote in that post that the Kapanaiʻa parcel (which was ranked #2) and parcels located in Hana, Maui (ranked #3) were significant not only in their own right, but also as part of a larger stretch of coastline with historical, cultural, and ecological conservation values.

Both of these corridors reached significant milestones in 2023.

On Hawaiʻi Island, the final puzzle piece to complete protection of the Kulaiʻwi o Kamehameha stretching from Kauhola Point (the first conservation transaction I worked on in 2011!) to Kapanaiʻa was purchased by the County of Hawaiʻi Open Space fund. The 50-acre oceanfront parcel known as Halelua belonged to Vipassana Hawaiʻi, who retained this property for the long process of conservation sale to the County while Hawaiʻi Life represented them in the sale of the other parcels that were once envisioned as a retreat center.

north kohala coastline on big island hawaii

Looking at a portion of the North Kohala coastline protected this year by the County of Hawaiʻi

On Maui, the non-profit Ke Ao Haliʻi similarly pieced together funding for purchases and conservation easements with County, State of Hawaiʻi, and private donors. Conservation easements held by Hawaiʻi Land Trust and Maui County will enable this community and lineal descendants to steward these lands from Mokae to Makaʻalae in perpetuity.

Contributing to Conservation and Legacy Lands Efforts in Hawaiʻi

If you happen to already own property in Hawaiʻi or are in the process of making a purchase, you are already supporting land conservation efforts! When you buy or sell real estate in Hawaiʻi, a portion of the conveyance tax paid at close of escrow is earmarked for the State Legacy Land Conservation Fund. When you pay property taxes, a portion of those taxes support County open space preservation efforts.

If you would like to become involved more directly, whether by donating towards purchases or volunteering your time and energy in stewardship efforts, one purpose of our Conservation and Legacy Lands practice is to help you vet the organizations acquiring and stewarding conservation properties in Hawaiʻi. Or if you have a vision of buying or donating a legacy property outright, we are happy to discuss and assist with those dreams.

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