The spectacular watershed of Maha`ulepu, Kauai encompasses
the peak of sacred Mt. Ha`upu, coastal ridges, an agricultural
valley, dramatic headlands, bays and beaches. This is the
last, accessible undeveloped coastal region on Kauai's
rapidly urbanizing South Shore. At Maha`ulepu, a collection
of irreplaceable natural, cultural, historic, agricultural,
scientific, scenic and recreational resources comprises a
significant heritage landscape, revealing five million years
of natural and human history.
Nine endangered species, including a blind spider and a blind
cave amphipod, nene and monk seals, inhabit or visit Maha`ulepu.
On the coast, healthy colonies of low-lying salt resistant
native specials thrive. Ongoing paleoecological, archaeological
and historical research at the Makauwahi Cave Reserve directs
restoration of native plants and wetland features.
The presence of many ancestral remains, submerged petroglyphs,
a heiau awaiting restoration and unexcavated sites underpin
the importance of Maha`ulepu to Native Hawaiians. But the
area is also vitally important as a place where families practice
and pass on traditional fishing, gathering and hunting. The
transition of land stewardship to ownership by the Hawaiian
kingdom, to native Hawaiians and to corporate ownership is
illustrated at Maha`ulepu.
Sugar history remnants are also part of the story in this
Koloa region where the first corporate plantation was established.
Maha`ulepu's open spaces, which include leases for
cattle ranching and cultivation of kalo, native plants, and
seed corn, continue KauaiÕs rural character and island
For generations, families have picnicked, camped, fished,
and dived here. Artists draw, paint and photograph. Water
sportsmen find windy Maha`ulepu ideal for windsurfing and
kite surfing as well as surfing and body boarding.
Maha`ulepu is vulnerable to development. In the past, landowner
Grove Farm Company, Inc has planned to build the hotels, golf
courses, condos, second homes and commercial facilities common
to resort residential enclaves. Citizens have opposed past
proposals. Presently owned by Stephen M. Case, a preservation
future may be brighter. Malama Maha`ulepu exists to work with
others to keep this special place natural and open.
See a summary
of the resources of and threats to Maha`uepu.