The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust announced last week it accepted two perpetual conservation easements on about 40 acres of wetland taro in Wai‘oli Valley, in the Halele‘a district of Kaua‘i’s North Shore.
Donated by Gaylord and Carol Wilcox and their daughters, Nicole Pedersen, Darcie Gray and Eliza Wilcox, the conservation easements place permanent restrictions on the important farm land, protecting it from future development and degradation.
“If lands like these are not protected for the long term, we believe pressures that are evident now for housing development will win out, and the majority of Wai‘oli Valley will be housing before the century is out” Gaylord Wilcox said in a press release, explaining the family’s decision.
The conservation easements will ensure the land cannot be developed, and also identify certain conservation values, agricultural resources, cultural and historical values, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty, inherent in the property which cannot be compromised or threatened by future uses of the land.
“HILT is honored to receive these perpetual conservation easements” HILT Executive Director Ted Clement said. “Wai‘oli Valley is a truly iconic place, and the preservation of this place is essential to the continuation of Kaua‘i’s rich history of taro production, the ecological well being of the greater Hanalei area and the protection of an unforgettable scenic vista. We are incredibly grateful to the Wilcox family for their generosity, long-term vision and commitment to land conservation. I would also like to thank our Kauaʻi Island Director, Jen Luck, for her hard work on this project.”
Wai‘oli (“Joyful Water”) Valley has been in active taro production since pre-contact times and remains a major producer of poi for the state. It is mauka of Kūhiō Highway in Hanalei.
The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is a nonprofit organization formed in 2011 out of the merger of four local land trusts, and it is the first and only nationally accredited local land trust in Hawai‘i.
HILT’s mission is to protect the lands for current and future generations. Through private, voluntary land conservation, HILT has conserved more than 17,500 acres to date, via perpetual Conservation Easements and Fee Simple Ownership, on a number of properties with various conservation values important to residents and visitors alike.
“We conserve lands that secure Hawai‘i’s long-term well-being, lands with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitats, water resource areas, cultural and historical sites, and outdoor recreation opportunities” HILT states.
A perpetual conservation easement is HILT’s primary conservation tool. It is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified conservation entity, such as HILT, that permanently restricts certain activities on land so as to protect the land’s conservation values. The landowner who donates a conservation easement to HILT remains the landowner, and HILT must uphold the conservation easement even with future landowners of the subject property.
Visit www.hilt.org for more information.