Access Route Planned for Ka’u Forest Reserve
Ka’u Forest Reserve will soon be accessible to the public, following the decision to establish a three-mile roadway along the lower boundary, providing vehicle access to the reserve. On June 22, it was agreed upon that the access route would be constructed after a memorandum agreement was signed by landowner Edmund C. Olson with Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case. The agreement reinforced that the route could be built over land part of the Olson Trust No. 2.
DLNR officials say the roadway, which will be known as the “Olson Forest Access,” will allow easier access to the 61,000-acre reserve for hunting, recreation, private land owners, cultural uses, personal gathering, and education programs and activities.
A collaborative effort by the Ka’u community, local hunters, private landowners, public land managers, and natural resource conservation partners have assisted in making the route possible.
Competitive grants from the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Shooting Sports foundation won by DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife will be used to establish the route.
The Hawai’i Department of Agriculture, Kuahiwi Contractors, Inc, Three Mountain Alliance Watershed Partnership The Nature Conservancy Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and the County of Hawai’i Game Management Advisory Commission will work together to install fencing, signage, and conduct roadway improvements. In addition, the partners will ensure ongoing maintenance in accordance with the MOA.
Once DOFAW secures the initial segment of the route and infrastructure improvements are completed, the road will open to the public.
A permit will not be necessary to use the roadway, but DLNR rules may require a permit for additional activities on the reserve land.
To learn more about the Olson Forest Access, including volunteer opportunities, contact Nohea Ka’awa at Three Mountain Alliance by calling 333-7497.