Maui News

‘Āina-based nonprofits sought to manage community stewardship at visitor hotspots

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Pohoiki anchialine pools. PC: DLNR.

Collaborative destination management efforts to preserve natural and cultural resources are increasing on Hawai‘i Island. With funding provided by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau is seeking proposals from ‘āina-based nonprofit organizations to develop and manage a community stewardship program at three popular sites.

The Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program aims to educate visitors and protect natural and cultural spaces in Pohoiki, Punalu‘u and Kealakekua Bay — communities that residents identified as hotspot locations in the Hawai‘i Island Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) due to their concerns such as increased overcrowding, congestion, degradation of resources, and safety hazards.

“This initiative is a part of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s ongoing commitment to the community as we support residents’ desired approaches to managing visitor impacts and preserving natural and cultural resources in their neighborhoods,” said Caroline Anderson, HTA’s director of planning. “The program is intended to engage stewards from each area who will help to educate others about their home and how to care for the places they are visiting.” 


The selected contractor(s) for the Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program will be responsible for working with the local community to recruit and hire stewards from the designated area or district.

The program’s objectives are to:

  • Increase understanding of appropriate behavior and respect for Hawaiian culture, natural resources, and the surrounding communities through positive visitor-steward interactions.
  • Train stewards to share place-based mo‘olelo (history), mo‘omeheu (culture) and ho‘oulu (hope for the future).
  • Emphasize safety and redirect visitors from dangerous land and ocean conditions to parks and beaches that are open for visitation.
  • Minimize trespassing on private and government lands.
  • Encourage visitors to pick up their ‘ōpala (rubbish) and leave the area better than when they arrived.
  • Gather data for the State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism Resident Sentiment Survey
  • Gather data to track visitation

“We are excited to release this community stewardship RFP for island of Hawai‘i communities to address hotspot and visitor-facing concerns,” said Rachel Kaiama, IHVB’s destination manager. “With our communities at the forefront of leading these efforts, we trust their connection to the wahi pana will aloha ʻāina and mālama the people who live in and visit these special places.”


The Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program supports HTA’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and its Natural Resources, Hawaiian Culture, and Community pillars.

It also advances DMAP Action C, “to support and promote ‘āina-based education and practices to protect and preserve natural resources so that residents and visitors will aloha ‘āina” and Sub-action C.3, “to support interested ‘āina-based groups to serve as interpretive educators, trainers, and/or cultural ambassadors to share cultural knowledge with the guest and visitor industry, tour operators, and other business owners.”

Earlier this month, HTA, alongside members of the community, County of Hawai‘i and IHVB launched the Keaukaha Steward Pilot Program and Community Cultural-Based Education Program to help balance the preservation of cultural and natural resources with mindful visitation at Waiuli (also known as Richardson Ocean Park) and Lehia Beach Parks.


To download the Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program application and Request for Proposals, visit  Proposals are due by 4:30 p.m. HST on Aug. 18, 2023, to IHVB Destination Manager Rachel Kaiama at [email protected].

For more information, please call 808-294-1737 or email [email protected].


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