Business

Kamehameha Schools Issues RFP to Harvest Hāmākua Forest Lands

October 20, 2018, 10:00 AM HST
* Updated October 17, 12:53 PM
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Uma uma eucalyptus forest. PC: Kamehameha Schools.

Kamehameha Schools (KS) has issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) seeking an operator who can harvest 3,000 acres of eucalyptus trees in Hilo, Pa‘auilo ma kai and near the rim of Waipi‘o Valley.

The RFP calls for operators with experience in plantation forest management, marketing and harvesting.

“These are areas in which we want to immediately transition to other uses such as community education programs and agricultural activities,” said Marissa Harman, director of asset management on Hawai‘i Island. “The selected operator will be awarded a short-term license versus a long-term lease to allow us more flexibility in assessing the future of the lands in Hāmākua as we work to meet the goals of our strategic plan.”

Pa‘auilo-based Hawai‘i Forest, which was selected in 2017 to move on to final lease negotiations in the previous selection process, notified KS this summer that it would be withdrawing from lease negotiations.

The previous lease expired on Dec. 31, 2016, when then-lessee LHF Lopiwa, LLC notified KS that it would not exercise its option to extend the agreement.

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“After the negotiations fell through, we decided it was a good opportunity to pause and take a deeper look at the long-term plans for Hāmākua,” Harman said. “Kamehameha Schools is committed to its kuleana of responsible stewardship of these lands. We look forward to developing a post-sugarcane era industry for KS properties in Hāmākua. We want to express our thanks to the community for its patience and support as we continue our work to find a forest operator.”

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