Pololū Valley is a wahi pana (legendary place) of Kohala. Pololū and the valleys and ridges beyond were home of the high ranking chiefs of Kohala loko. Here in "Deep Kohala" those of high mana, high kapu, and high kuleana were secreted away. Due to this protective nature, Pololū and the surrounding ʻāina was heavily guarded from outsiders, with fortresses, and strategic battle points along the ridges and gullies of the valleys.
Today's modern world of social media-adventure seekers along with, "authentic Hawaiʻi" tourism has lead to an increase of visitors, traffic, and hazardous conditions to Pololū. In one week alone in January 2021, there were a total of 5 extractions in Pololū valley.
The valley of Pololū is also filled with cultural sites, including burial mounds located in the puʻe one (sand dunes), and deteriorated wetland agriculture systems and marshland area. These sites are now protected by conservation zoning, and many of them are located on private property. Yup, you read that right, the front third of the valley, with the exception of the public trail and beach access, is privately owned by a mixture of landowners, including kuleana landowners.
More recently one of these landowners proposed a Property Consolidation Rezoning and Subdivision (PCRS) application through a letter of intent to the Department of Land and Natural Resources Board. The intent was to propose a consolidation proposal to the County Planning department involving their properties and adjoining state of Hawaiʻi property. The approval of this letter sparked alarm in the community because of the resulting lots of sale along the rim.
The proposed consolidation would also result in the state of Hawaiʻi owning the valley floor, and a 5-acre parcel of land along the Akoni Pule Highway for the proposed parking lot and rest station by District Representatives.
It is apparent through the currently poor enforcement of visitor behaviors in the valleys and by the state in their areas of their jurisdiction in the valley: along the trailhead, that the State is already failing at being an adequate steward of these ʻāina. The lineal descendants of Pololū who still live in the adjoining village of Niuliʻi/Makapala are also greatly opposed to the development of houses along the rim of the valley in the adjoining ahupuaʻa of Makahikahiō, along with the development of a rest area. How will the state be able to take care of these new facilities when they cannot even maintain what is already there? The Protect Pololū ʻOhana feels that it is better for the state to take care of the existing, hazardous trail conditions and run-down parking lot and trailhead before developing further facilities.
NO CAMPING IN THE VALLEY
This area is a conservation zone. Camping can cause damage to sites including unmarked burials. Overnight camping is not allowed without permission by land owners.
REMAIN IN PUBLIC ACCESS AREAS
The trail along the beach and the beach access are for public use. Please stay out of private properties. Trails are also extremely hazardous. Public is not encouraged to use trails beyond the Pololū beach area.
PACK OUT WHAT YOU BROUGHT IN
Make sure you take all your belongings, and rubbish with you. It doesn't even matter if it isnʻt your rubbish. If you see it, please do your part and take it out of the valley with you.
ENJOY THE BEAUTY, DON'T CHANGE IT
Stacking rocks, swinging over burial mounds (sand dunes), altering cultural features is a desecration of this sacred space. Enjoy this place, and leave it as untouched as possible, so the next person can enjoy the same beauty you did today.
Created by the ʻŌpio of Kohala
A group of ʻŌpio worked with their mentors to share their passion for protecting Pololū. Check out what they have to say in their video.
NEWS & VIEWS
Relevant Articles to Protect Pololū
HISTORIC HAWAII VALLEY SITE OF CONTROVERSIAL PARKING LOT, RESIDENTIAL SUBDIVISION PROPOSAL
May 5, 2021
Written by Sam Spangler
HE ALIʻI KA ʻĀINA, HE KAUWĀ KE KANAKA