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Zipline Update: Dispatch from the Outpost

Aloha from Honoli`i Mountain Outpost!

Our first step was applying for building permits from the County.  In the meantime, we cleared an area of the thick guava forest on the agriculture land to put in one of our permitted pavilions at the top of the cliff (pali).  We say “forest”, but it is really a thick tangle of introduced invasive species (guava and staghorn) choking out the natives (koa and ohia).  It was amazing to watch the sun and air hit the ground after clearing out the invasives.  Literally THOUSANDS of little koa sproutlings fought their way to the surface and broke cover.  The old native trees that we cleared around began to sprout leaves and branches all the way down to the ground.  Previously, the trunks were bare from the cover of the guava.  Right in front of the viewing pavilion there’s a gorgeous old ohia tree that was completely bare for the first twenty feet of it’s trunk from the guava strangling the sun and air from the forest.  Now, beautiful shiny leaves are pushing their way out of it’s gnarly trunk and old, barren branches.  We can’t wait for our first lehua blossoms on this new growth!  It’s going to be gratifying to watch the Amakihi, Elepaio and Iiwi (all native birds) migrate down from the upper reaches of the property to extend their range in a very small way.

Above left, koa seedlings; center, waiting to be planted; right, our "nursery truck"

We left the little koa sproutlings to take root, thinning them as needed.  The ones we're thinning out are being transplanted using the bed of an old abandoned pick up truck as a nursery to keep them safe from the hungry pigs and cattle.  The pick up truck is one of several abandoned pieces of equipment that we're trying to figure out what to do with, either re-purpose them in some way or get them to a dismantler.  We've transplanted several hundred koa so far, and are preparing to put them in the ground in the areas that were de-forested by the logging company harvesting the koa several years ago.

Above left, another koa nursery in front of transplant area; right, another transplant area

The first permit issued by the County was for the pavilion at the waterfall, and we started work as soon as we had that permit in hand.  We also had a set back from the County, and began to lay out the entire zip line course with that set back off the conservation zone in mind.  Several State and County entities have been to our site in the last several weeks to make sure that there has been no bulldozing or construction in the conservation area.  Work is completed on that first pavilion, and is wrapping up on the other shelters and structures for which we subsequently received permits from the County.

Above, new growth on an old ohia tree after clearing out invasives, with snow-capped Mauna Kea in the background

We immediately started clearing some space to allow cattle (and other animals, which we will talk about in future as more info becomes available) to graze around the zip course as soon as we got our grubbing permit, which had to go through both the State and the County.  We will use the grazing animals to keep the property neat as opposed to using mowers and poisons wherever possible.  We plan to keep the ag land under agricultural use, in fact, extending the ag zones by continuing to clear out the waiawi and other non-native trees.  We also plan to either leave the forest below intact or continue to work on removing the invasives.  We want to keep the tour as untouched and natural as possible, avoiding clearing large tracts in, under, or around the course.  We believe that our guests want the thrill of being able to get “in” the forest, and keeping it completely natural will achieve that experience.

That’s it for now, we’ll post more info as it becomes available!

Zip On!

The Team at Honoli`i Mountain Outpost

Koa sproutlings at Honoli`i Mountain Outpost Koa nursery in the back of an old pick up truck Nursery truck Transplant area Another koa nursery and a transplant area New growth on an old ohia

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