Maui News

‘Be Pono’ campaign encourages responsible outdoor recreation

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DOFAW mascot Pono the Nēnē gathering pono by receiving a permit for one of Hawaiʻi’s public Forest Reserves. PC: DLNR DOFAW

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has begun a campaign to help hikers, campers, and those engaging with natural resources go about outdoor activities the responsible way. Additionally, Hawaiʻi residents who watch the ‘Be Pono Outdoors‘ videos get a free reward.

The series consists of five 30-second videos, which share awareness on a variety of topics related to responsible outdoor recreation, including how to:

  • Hike Pono: clean gear to avoid spreading Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death or invasive seeds. Stay on trails to help our ecosystems stay healthy. Keep music in headphones to let others enjoy the natural music of our forests;
  • Play Pono: keep campfires safely contained and ready to extinguish. Avoid wildfire risk from fireworks by going to professional shows;
  • Gather Pono: sustainably rely on forests for wood, fruit, foliage, and other items with landowner permission and DLNR DOFAW’s collection permit system;
  • Mālama Pono: keep wildlife wild by viewing from a distance and never leave food outdoors that might make wildlife sick; and
  • Be a Pono Pet Parent: pets can be a life-saving hero to native wildlife by staying indoors, in a contained backyard, or on a leash.

The videos link these simple messages to more detailed information like hiking safety tips and emergency numbers, ‘Firewise’ landscaping tips from the Hawaiʻi Wildfire Management Organization, information about Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, and a new Pono Pet Parent Pledge from the Hawaiʻi Veterinary Medical Association.


“We manage an enormous amount of outdoor recreation opportunities, including hundreds of miles of Nā Ala Hele hiking trails, over 700,000 acres of public Forest Reserves, and all the native plants and animals that make those areas special,” said DOFAW Administrator David Smith. “When people head outside to enjoy nature, we ask that they do it in a way that helps protect those experiences for future generations.”

The Be Pono Outdoors webpage also offers Hawaiʻi residents a reward for getting involved. Anyone who watches all five videos can receive either a free Pono the Nēnē water bottle sticker or a free bumper sticker with Pono’s favorite saying: “E mālama kākou i ka ʻāina: Let’s care for the land together.”


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