Maui Arts & Entertainment

Haleakalā Ranch Celebrates 125th Anniversary

August 24, 2013, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated August 30, 3:15 PM
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ʻUlupalakua Ranch, cattle crossing. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Haleakalā cattle crossing. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

Haleakalā Ranch kicks off its 125th anniversary year with a historical exhibit about Upcountry ranching.

The year-long exhibit opens on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at the Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center on Baldwin Avenue in Makawao. Admission is free.

According to information released by the company, the ranch was incorporated on Sept. 1, 1888, during the reign of King David Kalākaua.

Today Haleakalā Ranch, is owned by the descendants of Samuel and Harry Baldwin, and company officials say it’s Maui’s largest ranch, encompassing some 29,000 acres and supporting a multi-species livestock operation.

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“This anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on our past accomplishments and successes, but it also reminds us of our responsibility to the next 125 years,” said Don Young, president of Haleakalā Ranch Company in a press release.

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“Through five generations of family ownership Haleakalā Ranch has worked hard to contribute to the local food supply through ranching while preserving the open, natural vistas of Upcountry, Maui. This continues to be our vision even as we navigate a changing economic environment.” said Young.

Company officials say “holistic grazing practices” are helping to control invasive species such as gorse. The ranch, in cooperation with the state Department of Agriculture, recently introduced the Madagascan fireweed moth, as a biological control insect to help to control the invasive and highly toxic fireweed plant that has taken over extensive pasture lands in Hawaiʻi.

Throughout its 125-year history, ranch officials say they have practiced conservation and “progressive land management,” in part by fencing off 7,000 acres at Waikamoi to protect the watershed. “In 1980, the ranch placed most of that acreage into a perpetual conservation easement now managed by The Nature Conservancy;” and in 2003, the ranch joined the Leeward Watershed Partnership to help protect 43,000 acres of land from Makawao through ʻUlupalakua to Kaupō, according to information provided by the ranch.

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“Many people are surprised to discover that Haleakalā Ranch once owned more than 50% of the lands that now comprise Haleakalā National Park. In 1927, the Territory of Hawaiʻi acquired the Haleakalā Crater acreage from the ranch in exchange for land in Kamaʻole and Kiheī. The ranch and the national park continue to cooperate on measures to control invasive species in the area such as feral goats, pigs and axis deer,” the announcement said.

In an effort to diversity its business, the ranch says they also serve as the home to a number of ecotourism activities such as Skyline Eco-­‐Adventures, Pony Express Tours and Maui Lavender & Botanicals.

“Local producers also call the ranch home including Maui Floral Protea and Tropical Flower Farm, Maui Nui Farm & Farmers Market and Haleakalā Distillers,” the announcement said.

The ranch also says that renewable energy was added as a new land-­use to complement ongoing agricultural operations and make Maui more self-sufficient heading into the future.

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