Conservation and Legacy Lands Guidebook

What is the Hawai’i Life Conservation and Legacy Lands (CLL) Initiative?


What Are Conservation and Legacy Lands?

Land in Hawai’i is not just real estate. The land is our most cherished and valuable resource. Our islands sustain us by providing clean air, fresh drinking water, nutritious food, and most importantly, the significant beauty and history of our special places that make Hawai’i such a remarkable place to live. Conservation of these resources ensures the enjoyment of this unique place for future generations.

We at Hawai’i Life share in the view expressed by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust that what makes Hawai’i so unique “is not our built environment, but the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of these islands.”

Conservation and Legacy Lands are identified by ecological, social, historical and cultural values. For example:

  • The presence of endemic or endangered species
  • The provision of critical components of an ecosystem, such as watersheds or marine coastal lands
  • Significance to local cultural practices, whether historically or currently
  • Important agricultural resources
  • The ability of a significant place and its stories to provide a link between the past, present and future generations

Many properties appear on the Iconic Lands list maintained by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, or they have a historical designation under international, national, state or local programs. Often, they’ve been identified by local communities, but have not yet received an official designation.

What Are Hawai’i Life’s Services in This Area of Expertise?

The first goal of Hawai’i Life’s Conservation and Legacy Lands initiative is to generate awareness of the role that conservation plays in Hawai’i’s future and to further conservation efforts across Hawai’i by leveraging the Hawai’i Life platform. In addition to listing CLL properties, we are here to generate and expand a pool of committed buyers and donors for conservation properties in Hawai’i and represent them in their conservation efforts.

By sharing our valuable knowledge and through our relationships with conservation organizations both locally and nationally, Hawai’i Life can help owners of significant historic properties or agricultural holdings, conservation listings and legacy lands to identify appropriate stewardship buyers or conservation strategies for their property.

Hawai’i Life’s initiative combines our expertise as real estate professionals, our robust online platform, and our statewide presence in service of a different kind of real estate transaction.

  • Hawai’i Life may be contracted to list a property that has explicit criteria for identifying a conservation or stewardship buyer.
  • Hawai’i Life may represent buyers interested in acquiring property specifically for preservation purposes.
  • Hawai’i Life may assist a buyer, seller or real estate professional who is dealing with conservation or preservation aspects of a property by connecting them with appropriate resources.
  • Hawai’i Life collaborates with other organizations, including land trusts and community nonprofit organizations, in educational activities related to conservation, historic preservation, and legacy lands.

Who Leads This Effort at Hawai’i Life?

Beth Thoma Robinson is a Hawai’i Life Realtor (Broker) and Hawai’i Island Broker-in-Charge. She was appointed in 2018 as Hawai’i Life’s Director of Conservation and Legacy Lands. Beth’s interest in this area of practice was sparked in 1983 when she was awarded a Ph.D. in mineral economics from the Colorado School of Mines. Her dissertation addressed environmental policy in the mining industry.

Beth was one of the first agents to join Hawai’i Life when we opened our office on the Big Island in 2009. In 2011, her listing at Kauhola Point in North Kohala was acquired for conservation with the assistance of the Trust for Public Land. That successful transaction ignited her passion for protecting the Wahi Pana or storied places of Hawai’i.

For a decade, Beth has continued to lend her real estate expertise in collaboration with the North Kohala community and with conservation organizations. Her role as Hawai’i Life’s Director of Conservation and Legacy Lands leverages her knowledge and experience across the company and the across the state.

Click here or here to learn more about Beth.

Contact Beth to Learn More

Can I Nominate a Conservation Listing That Is Not a Hawai’i Life Listing?

Yes. If your property is listed with another real estate broker, please have them contact Beth Thoma Robinson directly to make arrangements. If you have a property that you suspect has Conservation or Legacy Land values and potential and you wish to have it included on this page, or your need our consultative expertise, please contact us. Our overarching goal is to help owners of significant historic or conservation listings, legacy land, or agricultural holdings to find the right stewardship and strategies for their property, regardless of its listing brokerage firm.

Please have your broker contact us if your property meets one of the following criteria:

  • Historical significance
  • Cultural significance as identified by the local community
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Sensitive environmental features such as coastline, watershed, water resources or native forest
  • Significant farm or ranch operations or potential for same
  • Existing conservation easements or deed restrictions

Contact Beth to Learn More

Are these the only properties of this type that are currently available?

No. We cannot display all conservation properties because of privacy and/or legal restrictions, so what you see here is merely a sampling of what is available. Contact us for a complete list of Conservation and Legacy Lands available throughout the State of Hawai’i.

Contact us for a complete list

Which Other Key Stakeholders Are Involved?

Outright acquisition or conservation easements have protected more than 6% of Hawai’i’s 4.1 million acres. Protected properties include coastlines, forests, working farms and ranches, and places of cultural significance. Hawai’i Life works closely with organizations with specialization in this space. Some of these organizations and trusts are listed below:

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
  • North Shore Community Land Trust (Oahu)
  • Molokai Land Trust
  • Hālawa Valley Land Trust

How Is the State of Hawai’i Involved?

The State of Hawai’i dedicates a portion of its annual revenue from real estate conveyance taxes to the Land Conservation Fund. Each year, the State Legislature provides the Legacy Land Conservation Program with some of the money held in the Fund. The Legacy Land Conservation Program distributes this money through a competitive grants program designed for purchasing land and conservation easements, as well as for paying the debt service on state financial instruments (such as bonds) – for the protection of the following resources:

  • Habitat
  • Coastal Areas
  • Culturally or Historically Significant Lands
  • Agricultural Lands
  • Open Spaces
  • Natural Areas
  • Watershed
  • Parks and Recreational Areas

How Is the Government Involved at the County Level?

Here are some of the County-level organizations involved in conservation, which are funded with a portion of property taxes collected:

  • City and County of Honolulu Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund
  • Kauai Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund Commission
  • Maui County Open Space Fund
  • Hawai’i Countyʻs Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Fund

In What Other Ways Is the Government Involved?

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 delegates responsibility for the preservation of historic and cultural properties to the National Park Service, the State Historic Preservation Division under the Department of Land and Natural Resources, The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, certified local governments, and private nonprofit organizations.

Hawai’i revised statutes 6-e in 1976 established the state framework for conservation and preservation. Relevant to real estate transactions, the statute:

  • Provides for review of proposed development as the primary means of lessening the effects of change on historic and cultural assets
  • Establishes a State Historic Preservation Division
  • Establishes a Hawai’i Register of Historic Places and the Hawai’i Historic Places Review Board
  • Establishes Island Burial councils

Conservation and Legacy Lands Resources

These fine organizations specialize in the field of Conservation and Legacy Lands in Hawai’i:

Hawai’i Life Articles on Conservation and Legacy Lands
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
The Nature Conservancy – Hawaii
The Trust For Public Land – Hawai’i
Historic Hawai’i Foundation

Hawai’i Life Agent Resources (Private Access Coming Soon)

We are committed to empowering Hawai’i Life agents and team members with information and resources to increase our expertise in the area of Conservation and Legacy Lands. Access the password protected resources below by emailing or calling Beth Thoma Robinson.

Contact Beth to access the password protected resources below

How can Hawai’i Life Agents recognize properties with conservation potential?

See article

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Agents: How to Identify Conservation and Legacy Properties and What to Do Next

How can Hawai’i Life Agents communicate with clients about Hawai’i Life’s Conservation and Legacy Lands practice?

Contact Beth for Password

Agents: How to Talk with Seller and Buyer Clients about Conservation and Legacy Lands

How does Hawai’i Life’s Conservation and Legacy Lands benefit Hawai’i Life agents and their business?

Contact Beth for Password

Agents: How Hawaii Life’s Conservation and Legacy Lands Resource Benefits You and Your Business


Nominate your listing. Ask questions. Get resources for your properties and practice.
We’re here to help!

Contact Beth to Get Involved!

Nominate your listing. Ask questions. Get resources for your properties and practice.
We’re here to help!

Email BethCall Beth (808) 443-4588

Beth Robinson Headshot

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