Ways of the Ancestors

The name of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail newsletter honors the ancestors whose paths are still followed when trails are used today. The newsletter presents highlights about the trail and its people, you. For the most current issue, click here.

For more frequent updates, go to the trail's facebook page.

Kiholo NTD 2012 trail footsteps
Walk this way

Nancy Erger

Walk this way...Hawai`i Trails Day 2012

A number of hikers turned out for National Trails Day® events along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail on the weekend of June 2 & 3, 2012. From Kawaihae to Hawaii Volcanoes, seven groups reaped free benefits from their hikes. They got to breathe fresh air, get hearts pumping, maintain health and escape from the daily stress.

Kaleo Paik, Ala Kahakai Trail Association board member, worked with Sheila Franklin of American Hiking Society and was able to request and secure a proclamation from the governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie. The proclamation declared June 2, 2012 as "Hawai`i Trails Day". Within the document, the governor urged the people of the Aloha State to "join us in taking advantage of our State's trails year-round and to recognize our trails as an important resource that helps enhance the quality of life for all participants." To view Hawaii Trails Day proclamation, click here Hawai`i Trails Day Proclamation 2012.

In your backyard in Hawaii is the 175 mile Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, a portion of the 200,000 miles of trail access to the natural world in America. Discover, learn about and celebrate trails not just on Hawai'i Trails Day, but everyday. Be safe and remember to reap the free benefits the trail offers.

Musicians Kailapa 2011
Musicians at 2011 Music and Talk Story, Kailapa

Nancy Erger

Sense of Place: Music and Talk Story

A special day of Sense of Place: Music and Talk Story occurred at Kailapa Hawaiian Homestead in Kawaihae on Hawaii island on August 28, 2011. The music and stories of Kawaihae were presented by its people revitalizing community pride in the place where they live. The venue, in close proximity to Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, offered a renewing of connections. "With this project, we will bring people together at gatherings that celebrate the past, present and future of each community and allow us to appreciate and continue to nurture our unique culture." said Aric Arakaki, Trail Superintendent.

Elders and youth shared familiar and forgotten stories and names of places, some which are now no longer in existence. Musicians harmonized, playing songs that honored the area. Hula dancers gracefully revealed stories with their hands. All of the participants shared what was and is unique about their place.

Kailapa Community Association, Hui Kuapa (The Friends of the Future), and Ala Kahakai Trail Association partnered to draw the community together for this event. Hui Kuapa brought fourteen years of experience doing similar gatherings across the island. Two other Music and Talk Story along the trail corridor are scheduled in Kona on October 9th and in Honaunau on November 6th.

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is one of nineteen national park units across the country awarded the 2011 America's Best Idea grant by the National Park Foundation. This project was made possible in part through the generous support of Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, the Anschutz Foundation and the Ahmanson Foundation.


National Park Foundation America's Best Idea grant

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is one of nineteen national parks that received a National Park Foundation grant to support interactive and engaging projects that will strengthen Americans' connection with their national parks. The project "Sense of Place: Music and Talk Story" will share stories and songs of places at three locations along the trail.

County, State and National Park Service representatives at Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail signing ceremony, Feb. 21, 2010.
Signers for Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail's Memorandum of Understanding.

NPS Photo


Representatives of the National Park Service, State of Hawai'i, and County of Hawai'i joined together to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail on Sunday, February 21, 2010. The MOU focused on establishing the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail and setting forth the roles and responsibilities of each partner agency to protect and preserve the 175-mile trail corridor.

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Superintendent Aric Arakaki, Pacific West Region Deputy Regional Director Patty Neubacher, State of Hawai`i Lt. Governor James R. "Duke" Aiona, Jr., State of Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson Laura Thielen and Hawai`i County Deputy Managing Director Wally Lau gathered together at the table to sign the document in front of a crowd of about 120 community members, park partners, and park staff.

The primary focus of the agreement will be the implementation of the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, which was designated by the U.S. Congress in 2000. The CMP, released in May 2009, establishes management guidelines needed to fulfill the preservation and public use goals that were the result of community input gathered at island-wide meetings.

Aerial photo of Kauleoli

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Corridor Protection

The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail ("the Trail") announces an initiative for the protection of sections of the historic trail corridor. Since its establishment in 2000, the Trail has partnered state and local agencies, organizations, and landowners to preserve and interpret traditional Native Hawaiian culture and natural resources along the Trail. The Trail, administered by the National Park Service (NPS) completed a Comprehensive Management Plan ("the Plan") in 2009 which represents the overall management strategy for the Trail. The Plan includes several protection strategies for nonfederal lands, including partnerships, agreements, easements, and land acquisition from willing sellers. The Ala Kahakai Trail Association, a 501c3 non-profit, was established to work in partnership with the NPS to implement the Plan. The Trail and the Trail Association continue to build and foster partnerships and have recently identified several opportunities to acquire land for permanent historic trail protection from willing sellers. The Trail's land acquisition authority is included in the legislation that established Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. In the next few months, the NPS expects to acquire property along the shoreline in the Kauleolī ahupuaʻa. The NPS is partnering with The Trust for Public Land to complete the acquisition. This acquisition has been a priority for the Trail because it includes ancient and historic trails and it would protect significant archaeological, cultural, and historic sites that are important to the Native Hawaiian descendants of the area. The acquisition will also protect the viewshed looking south from Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and extend trails currently available to the public. Following acquisition and in accordance with the Plan, the Trail will undertake a community planning process for this segment of the national historic trail. For any future acquisitions, the Trail, along with area descendants, community organizations, state and county partners, will prepare a trail segment management plan. The public will be invited to participate in future planning processes and the Trail will consult with state and local agencies and other stakeholders.

About Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail

Established in 2000 for the preservation, protection and interpretation of traditional Native Hawaiian culture and natural resources, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is a 175 mile network of trails and routes of cultural and historical significance. It traverses through hundreds of ancient Hawaiian settlement sites and over 200 ahupuaʻa (traditional sea to mountain land divisions). The Trail corridor includes numerous cultural treasures such asintact segments of the trail, heiau (temples), royal centers, kahua (house site foundations), loko iʻa (fishponds) koʻa (fishing shrines), kiʻi pohaku (petroglyphs), holua (stone slide), and wahi pana (sacred places). Anchialine ponds, pali (precipices), nearshore reefs, estuarine ecosystems, coastal vegetation, migratory birds, native sea turtle habitat, and several threatened and endangered endemic species of plants and animals are also present in the Trail corridor. Where segments of the ancient and historic trails have been lost to erosion, lava flows, earthquakes and modern development, the Trail's Plan calls for the preservation of historic routes for eventual public use provided that active management is occurring along segments opened to the public. Today, the Trail continues to be used and cared for by descendants, as it has for centuries by their kūpuna. It is a "living trail." Connecting, reconnecting and enhancing connections of families and communities with ancient and historic ties to the trail are necessary for successful community management and authentic visitor experiences of the trail. To learn more about the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, call (808) 326-6012 x 101 or visit


Last updated: June 23, 2016

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Mailing Address:

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail
73-4786 Kanalani Street, #14

Kailua-Kona, HI 96740


(808) 326-6012 xx101

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