Friday, November 23, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Nov. 23, 2012

Ka`u Forest Reserve Management Plan calls for fencing 12,000 acres of forest. Photo by Rob Schallenberger

KA`U FOREST RESERVE is a target of the Pele Defense Fund, which filed a suit this week in state Third Circuit Court to challenge the proposed Ka`u Forest Reserve Management Plan. The suit objects to the state’s determination that the plan would have no significant environmental impacts and asks for an Environmental Impact Statement. A statement on Pele Defense Fund’s website at says “the decision not to prepare an EIS “required that the EIS issue must be decided by the Court."

Ka`u Forest Reserve shown in green.
Pele Defense Fund president
Palikapu Dedman

      Palikapu Dedman, president of Pele Defense Fund, listed a number of reasons for the suit.  He contended that: “Since the '70s until present, tons of galvanized and iron posts have been destroying miles of virgin forests, as well as tons of toxic rodent poisons placed between fences to eradicate rodents as well as pigs that eat them statewide, which is more damaging to watershed, negating conservation reasoning that pigs ruin the watershed. On this island alone Native Hawaiians as well as the general public, hunters, gatherers and recreational hikers has been ‘fenced out’ of nearly three million acres of their lands through 'Science and Conservation,' a clear case of taxation without representation.”

       Department of Forestry & Wildlife’s Ka`u Foreset Reserve Management Plan proposes fencing 12,000 acres of forest, eradicating animals and possibly reintroducing the Hawaiian crow, with the possibility of more fence enclosures in the future. The suit refers to the plaintiff’s criticism of the cultural assessment, the interruption of hunting and gathering access and says there is a failure to measure results of prior, similar efforts.

     Pele Defense Fund says that it seeks “to preserve the Ka`u Forest Reserve for the Native Hawaiian traditional and spiritual practices, and for education of future generations,” claiming the Environmental Assessment completed for the Ka`u Forest Reserve Plan overlooks “the risk of environmental impacts.”

Walkovers would allow access
for hunters.

       The Ka`u Forest Reserve Plan for the 61,641 acres calls for the fenced-in area to protect native plants and birds from ungulates to be at the high elevations, where hunting is less frequent. It also calls for walkovers, like stairways going over the fences to help give hunters continued access to their hunting grounds. The Hawaian crow, the `alala, would be re-introduced. It is believed to be extinct in the wild, and a breeding program takes place at San Diego Zoo and at Keauhou Bird Sanctuary in Volcano.

`Alala may be re-intro-
duced to the reserve.




Reprinted by permission of
Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper ( distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (, Pahala Plantation Cottages (, Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.