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Case Praises Major Expansion of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Acquisition Of Pristine Pohue Bay Parcel Was Funded Largely Through Federal Government’s Land and Water Conservation Fund

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) praised today’s transfer of ownership of Pōhue Bay in South Kona to the National Park Service for a landmark expansion of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, as announced by the Trust for Public Land (TPL) which arranged the transfer.

“This is another strong show of commitment by our federal government and our conservation partners to protect our ‘āina and culture for future generations,” said Case. 

“As Hawai‘i and the rest of our Earth’s special places continue to come under serious threat or outright disappear, it is even more critical that we protect their unique natural, cultural and historical resources wherever and however we can including our National Park System.”

Case continued: “As a Member of the U.S. House Committees on Natural Resources and Appropriations, which have jurisdiction over our National Parks and our nation’s spending, I am especially happy that this long-pursued expansion of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to include a pristine mauka to makai parcel has been achieved.”

Acquisition of the 16,451-acre parcel on the South Kona coast of Hawai’i Island adjoining the Park’s Kahuku parcel was funded by a combination of the federal government’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and private donation. The LWCF, which distributes $900 million annually to safeguard our nation’s natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, was permanently funded following Congressional passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020, a measure which Case strongly supported.

Pōhue Bay is home to significant Hawaiian cultural sites, including burial sites, trails, fishing shrines, lava tubes, petroglyphs and a well-preserved portion of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. The bay is also critical habitat for federally listed endangered Hawaiian species, including the Hawaiian hawksbill turtle (honu‘ea) and Hawaiian monk seal.

Stewardship of the area now lies with the National Park Service (NPS), and the Friends of the Volcanoes National Park, a separate non-profit that supports the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, received a donation of $800,000 from TPL to help administer the site. NPS is developing an interim operating plan which will explore opportunities for public use and resource protection.

Attachments: pictures courtesy of National Park Service and Trust for Public Land