Hawaii National Park gets land where ancient villages stood

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HONOLULU – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island received new land on Tuesday as part of an agreement that will protect and manage an area of ​​ocean bay that is home to endangered and endemic species and culturally rare Native Hawaiian artifacts important.

Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit land preservation group, has transferred its ownership of Pohue Bay and surrounding lands to the National Park Service.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to the world’s largest and most active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea.

Pohue Bay is home to endangered hawksbill turtles, green sea turtles, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, and other species found only in Hawaii. The area is home to anchialine ponds – landlocked basins with a mixture of fresh and salt water – where rare Hawaiian red shrimp called ōpae’ula live.

The area is also culturally significant because it has remnants of ancient Hawaiian villages, petroglyphs, burial sites and the largest known abrader tool quarry in the state, according to the Trust for Public Lands. Abrasors are ancient tools used for sanding, smoothing and grinding.

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Park officials hope to eventually open the area to the public, but the 26 square miles (67 square kilometers) of land will remain closed to visitors as national park staff consult with local experts and residents to better understand the various cultural sites.

In a statement, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh called the Pohue Bay area “an incredibly valuable and culturally significant landscape that must be protected.”

She added: “The park is working on a draft operating plan for Pohue that explores public use opportunities consistent with resource protection.”

Trust for Public Land acquired the private land on Tuesday and donated it to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park the same day.

The parcel that stretches from the southwest coast of the island of Hawaii to the national park was purchased for $9.4 million with funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and a donation from the Wyss Foundation. The land had previously been the subject of several resort proposals, Trust for Public Land said.

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“We are grateful to the National Park Service for stewarding the area, ensuring that the history, culture and natural beauty of this place will be protected for future generations,” said Land Lea Hong, associate vice president of Trust for Public Land, which runs the organization’s Hawaii division. , in a report.

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This story fixes the fact that Hawaiian red shrimp are rare but not endangered.

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