Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014

Royal Hawaiian Orchards recently installed 15 drying towers for in-shell macadamia nuts and expects to install an additional 14
 at its husking plant between Pahala and Hwy 11. Photo by Julia Neal
FIFTEEN NEW DRYING TOWERS at Royal Hawaiian Orchards in Pahala have made Ka'u one of its tri-coastal locations for processing macadamia. The new metal towers each hold about 70,000 to 80,000 pounds of in-shell macadamia, which dry over about eight days, using heat generated by propane burners. After drying, the macadamia are poured into shipping containers and sent to China where the nuts are cracked. After cracking, kernels are shipped to California for processing into various macadamia products.
Royal Hawaiian Orchards husks and dries nuts in Pahala from its orchards in Ka'u and its orchards in Kea'au. Another 14 towers may be installed in the future.
     Royal Hawaiian, formerly ML Macadamia, LLC, sold macadamis nuts in the past to Mauna Loa Macadamia but has developed its own product line, promoting the healthy eating of macadamia and its non-GMO qualities.
     Royal Hawaiian is one of the larger employers in Ka'u, with more than 120 workers, including a regular staff all year and a larger crew during harvest time. See royalhawaiianorchards.comTo comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.
Kahuku Iki is a  222 acre property between Ocean View and
Na`alehu, just acquired by The Nature Conservancy.
KAHUKU IKI, a 222-acre property between Ocean View and Na`alehu, has been purchased by The Nature Conservancy, the non-profit organization reported today. "Acquisition of the parcel, known as Kahuku Iki, prevents it from being developed and opens the possibility of a future partnership with neighboring Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park," said a statement from TNC.
     The land was acquired from the real estate company Hulu Lolo, LLC, for $330,000, plus closing costs.
     Triangular in shape, Kahuku Iki is zoned Agriculture.  Its southerly, makai boundary extends 1.6 miles along Highway 11. Its northerly, mauka boundary is the abandoned old Māmalahoa Highway.
   According to the state Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism, an estimated two million visitors a year drive past this parcel coming from both the Hilo and Kona directions.
     “This is a small but very strategic piece of property that could have easily become an agricultural sub-division or strip mall,” said Jody Kaulukukui, the Conservancy’s director of land protection. “But with the Conservancy purchase, ag sub-division, clearing and development, which are permissible on agriculturally zoned lands, are no longer a threat.”
Hawaiian rock walls and dryland forest are features of Kahuku Iki.
Photo from TNC
     Above Highway 11, the Kahuku Iki parcel is surrounded by the 116,000-acre Kahuku unit of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, which has expressed a strong interest in eventually having the property transferred to the National Park Service, the statement said. 
    "Aquiring this small parcel would provide the park with greater flexibility in providing a safe and scenic access to the Kahuku unit,” said Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The park would also explore working with the state to develop a parking area for a few cars off the Old Mamalahoa Highway as a trailhead to the 1868 lava flow and rare native dryland forest, as well as a potential trail following the historic Kahuku-ʻAinapō Trail alignment to connect other trails in lower Kahuku.”
     The Nature Conservancy has a long history of cooperation with Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. In 2003, the two organizations jointly purchased the 116,000-acre Kahuku Ranch for addition to the park, which became its Kahuku unit. The purchase was the largest land transaction in Hawaiʻi history and increased the then 217,000-acre park by fifty percent.
     Any future sale to the Park Service would be subject to available federal funding and is at least two to four years down the road, Kaulukukui said. For now, the land will be managed as a Nature Conservancy preserve.
Hoawa, Native Hawaiian plant at Kahuku Iki
Photo from TNC
The property may be added onto the Kahuku section of Hawai`i
Volcanoes National Park. Photo from TNC
     Conservancy surveys have found that the property sits on the boundary between excellent lowland mesic and lowland dry forest habitat, which is increasingly rare in Hawaiʻi. Native plants found at the site include ‘ōhiʻa, ulei, pukiawe, hoawa and aʻaliʻi. Native birds include the Hawaiian hawk (ʻio) and two honeycreepers (ʻapapane and ʻamakihi). It is believed that the native Hawaiian hoary bat (ʻōpeʻapeʻa) is also in the area.
     Because no conservation management has ever occurred on the property, portions of it are significantly impacted by mouflon sheep and Christmas berry, an invasive weed, stated The Nature Conservancy.
     Kahuku Iki is located nine miles from the Conservancy’s 8,089-acre Kona Hema Preserve and 5.25 miles from its 3,511-acre Kaʻū Preserve. The land is part of 15,000 acres that the non-profit manages on Hawaiʻi Island. Together with its partners, the Conservancy has helped protect more than 200,000 acres across the state.
To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY'S  display and sale of holiday wreaths and unique ornaments continues and many diverse works of art continues through Sunday, Jan. 4 at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Park entrance fees apply.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers New Year’s events. New Year’s Eve party begins Wednesday at 8 p.m. at KMC’s Lava Lounge, with Mile 25 providing dance music. No cover charge, plus a midnight toast. For more information, call 967-8365.

THE HOLIDAY CHALLENGE at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park continues through New Year’s Eve. The public can judge cottages decorated in holiday lights by KMC employees and vote for their favorites. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8371 for more information. 

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park follows up its Christmas Day brunch with a New Year’s Day brunch from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Fee for adults is $16.95; $9.50 for children 6-11 years old. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

AMAHL & THE NIGHT VISITORS continues at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. KDEN presents the production through Sunday, Jan. 4. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. For tickets, call 982-7344 or emailkden73@aol.com.


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