9.5-acres at ʻŌpelu Point in Kīpahulu, Maui is now protected in perpetuity
Hawai‘i nonprofit organization Kīpahulu ‘Ohana, Inc. announced the acquisition of a 9.5-acre coastal property known as ‘Ōpelu Point in Kīpahulu, Maui. The parcel will be protected as conservation land in perpetuity, in partnership with the County of Maui and the Hawai‘i Land Trust.
Mayor Michael Victorino and the Office of Climate Change, Resiliency, and Sustainability awarded a grant of $2.5 million from the Open Space, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, and Scenic Views Preservation Fund to Kīpahulu ʻOhana for the acquisition of ‘Ōpelu Point.
“This is an ideal parcel to preserve in perpetuity because of its location overlooking the area fishery,” Mayor Victorino said. “This private-public partnership will benefit the Kīpahulu community for generations. Mahalo to many County departments, our nonprofit partners, the private landowner and the community for working so diligently to protect ‘Ōpelu Point.”
The property is located toward the western end of Kīpahulu overlooking Lelekea Bay. It’s an important location for managing the proposed Kīpahulu Moku Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area. Lelekea Bay is a traditional spot for harvesting akule (big-eyed scad), but the area is showing negative effects of unmanaged recreational use.
‘Ōpelu Point is adjacent to a 9-acre parcel managed by Kīpahulu ‘Ohana through a State lease. It will expand the ‘Ohana’s existing cultural, agricultural and shoreline programs to encompass both properties.
“This is a dream come true for us,” said Auntie Tweetie Lind, co-founder and Program Manager for Kīpahulu ‘Ohana. “‘Ōpelu Point is a very special spot, and we are honored to be the stewards of this wahi pana (significant place). It will be part of our overall moku management programs, mauka to makai. ‘Ōpelu Point provides a place to teach current and future generations about Kīpahulu’s traditional methods to manage the fishery for collective abundance. We’re excited for the agricultural and shoreline management activities we are planning for ‘Ōpelu Point.”
“We are grateful to Mayor Victorino, Shane Sinenci, the Maui County Council’s East Maui representative, and all Councilmembers for approving this acquisition. I also want thank HILT for partnering with us to manage the conservation easement” continued Auntie Tweetie Lind. “It took everyone to make this possible.”
The ‘Ōpelu Point conservation easement marks HILT’s 50th conservation easement. HILT will monitor the property in perpetuity to guarantee conservation easement restrictions are followed.
“Hawaiʻi Land Trust is honored and humbled to partner with Kīpahulu ʻOhana and the County of Maui to ensure ‘Ōpelu Point will serve as a food basket for Kīpahulu families, and the greater community, forever,” said Shae Kamakaʻala, Director of ʻĀina Protection for the Hawaiʻi Land Trust. “‘Ōpelu Point is back in the hands ofthose who hold lineal kuleana to care for this place. We have confidence that permanent protection of these lands will truly serve and build resilient communities for generations to come.”