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Nonprofit given 1,600 acres on Moloka’i

April 15, 2008

Honolulu Advertiser. April 15, 2008.  A nonprofit group has signed an agreement to acquire 1,600 acres of rugged Moloka’i coastal property from the parent of Molokai Ranch at no cost.
The binding deal between Molokai Properties Ltd. and the 2-year-old Molokai Land Trust is subject to legal formalities, but is expected to result in bestowing the land to the nonprofit trust for its preservation.

The land covers five miles along Moloka’i’s north shore, and includes rocky cliffs, an extensive tidal pool system, fishing shrines and ancient adze quarry.

Known as the Mokio parcel, the area between ‘Ilio Point and Mo’omomi is regarded by Molokai Enterprise Community as the most environmentally significant land owned by Molokai Ranch, and also includes bird nesting sites and an acre of the endangered endemic Hawaiian ‘ihi’ihi lauakea plant that is estimated to be the largest concentration in the state.

Molokai Land Trust plans to create a land management plan for the site that will include community access and monitoring of natural and cultural resources.

“This gift of land to the trust is evidence of the ranch’s commitment to give back significant legacy lands to the community”, said Colette Machado, president, board of trustees of Moloka’i Land Trust.

“Under the proposed Community Based Master Land Use Plan for Molokai Ranch, the land trust could be the recipient of an additional 50,000 acres in gifts and easements of premier native Hawaiian legacy lands. We continue our efforts toward that goal,” Machado said.

The Moloka’i Land Trust was formed in 2006, and is now recognized by the state of Hawai’i and the federal government as a nonprofit organization with a stated mission “to protect and restore land, natural and cultural resources of Moloka’i and to perpetuate the unique Native Hawaiian traditions of the island for the benefit of future generations of all Moloka’i, particularly Native Hawaiians.”

Molokai Ranch last month shut down its operations on the island and laid off roughly 120 employees after its plans to develop 200 luxury oceanfront homes ran into community opposition. The struggling company, an affiliate of Hong Kong-based GuocoLeisure Ltd., said all its major operations ceased at the end of March, including the 22-room Molokai Lodge, 40-unit Kaupoa Beach Village, the Kaluakoi Golf Course and other recreational activities.

April 15, 2008
Section: Business
Page: 1C

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