In honor of International Surf Day on June 21, Surfrider Foundation’s Maui Chapter announced it will highlight its critical new campaign: Protect Pe`ahi.
The chapter supports the community-based effort to acquire, protect and manage 267 acres of the Hamakualoa Maui Coastline, from East Kuiaha Gulch to West Kaupakakalua Gulch in Pe`ahi. The Foundation said this commitment is consistent with their role as an advocate for public coastal access and the protection of special places.
In support of this goal, Surfrider has pledged to support the ongoing care and management of this coastline by launching its “Protect Pe`ahi” campaign to lend support to cultural groups and lineal descendants of the area who are directing efforts to care for the land.
Protect Pe`ahi Campaign manager Mike Ottman said the first goal of the campaign is to work with the many families and cultural practitioners connected to the lands who are urging the County administration to begin negotiations with Alexander & Baldwin to acquire the 267 acres.
The acquisition plan may be divided into two distinct phases, the first phase focusing on lots 1, 3, 4, and 5, and the second phase focusing on the Oili lot.
Surfrider gratefully acknowledges the Maui County Council’s unanimous decision to allocate $9.5 million dollars from the Open Space Fund to purchase Kuiaha Lots 1, 3, 4, and 5, and Mayor Arakawa for signing the budget.
The campaign also plans to help raise funds for land management costs and be a part of community outreach mobilizing volunteers to care for the land, once it is preserved.
Surfrider is part of community effort to protect this historically significant part of the the North Shore. Malama Hamakua Maui, a nonprofit group formed by lineal descendants and cultural practitioners of the area, is partnering with Surfrider Maui, Waikikena Foundation, the Haiku Community Association, local schools and youth centers, the Hawaii Farmer’s Union Haleakala branch, equestrian and biking groups, and other community groups to advocate for protection and plan management of the coastal lands and culturally significant gulches.
The World Surfing League is also willing to support the efforts as part of continued access for their annual big wave contest. The groups have a shared vision of the land as a place of cultural use and education, recreational access, local agriculture and open space vistas.
Surfrider will organize and sponsor a community-galvanizing event in October to raise awareness, funds and community momentum in support of this vision to “Protect Pe`ahi.”
For more information, or to join the cause, contact Surfrider Foundation’s Maui Chapter via Maui.surfrider.org.
Photo: Forest & Kim Starr/Wikimedia Commons