Newsletter 3 Plain Text

Newsletter 3 - September 2017


Cultural Landscape Inventory
Timeline: Project Start - fourth quarter of 2018

Cultural landscapes are culturally and historically significant landscapes that human beings have created in the natural world, and can be best described as intertwined patterns of things both natural and constructed. Identifying and documenting cultural landscapes is particularly important for newly-designated parks which are at the beginning stages of planning, as this ensures that future development and maintenance is structured to both accentuate and preserve historically-significant features for a more authentic visitor experience.

Documenting the qualities and attributes of a cultural landscape that make it significant and worth preserving is a more involved process than one might initially assume. Historical and environmental data from complex landscapes must be collected, evaluated, and subdivided into identifiable components and features to ensure preservation. Identifying some elements of cultural landscapes at Honouliuli are obvious; for example, the topography of the Honouliuli gulch is a characteristic which is known to have reinforced former internee’s sense of isolation and entrapment. Other cultural landscape characteristics, such as historically-significant vegetation, cultural traditions (practices that influenced how the camp was constructed and manipulated by its occupants) or circulation systems (how military overseers and internees moved throughout the camp) are less obvious, and will require more in-depth research and documentation.

Having been notified that funding was awarded for this proposed project several months ago, local and regional NPS staff conducted a survey and discussed a scope of work for a cultural landscape inventory of the Honouliuli National Monument at the end of July. Scheduled to begin in 2018, this project will build off of data collected by other upcoming projects in 2018-2019 (see Vegetation and Wildlife Survey and Archeological Inventory Survey of Primary Roads and Trails).

Vegetation Inventory and Wildlife Survey
Timeline: Final Report completed by July 2019
Contractor: Hamer Environmental (Hawaii Office)

Anyone who has been to or seen recent pictures of Honouliuli National Monument understands all too well some of the management challenges in regards to the current vegetative conditions at the park. If you haven’t, please have a quick look at the photo on the next page. NPS staff have started joking that “you haven’t really done fieldwork at Honouliuli until you’ve fallen into the creek”, and perhaps the photo best illustrates why. At certain times of year, the grass is so high that it’s difficult to know that water is only a few feet away!
Joking aside, vegetation at Honouliuli obscures historic features and makes on-site work both tedious and labor-intensive.

In addition to the need to better understand the scope of vegetation at the monument in order to lay a foundation for a future Vegetation Management Plan, there is also a pressing need to identify heritage vegetation as a cultural landscape component (see Cultural Landscape Inventory Project), to ensure that any future clearing efforts are not disrupting historically-significant natural characteristics of the monument.

Set to begin at the start of 2018, Hamer Environmental will begin working on a Vegetation Inventory and Wildlife Survey of the Honouliuli National Monument. The report will include a plant species checklist, as well as provide information on conservation status, management implications and life history for any native species and Polynesian-introduced species identified. Similarly, the report will provide additional information on the management of invasive species of greatest concern. Another component of this project will include completing surveys to determine if any threatened of endangered wildlife species are present at the monument. This work will not only assist park staff in future monument planning and management, but will serve to ensure that future actions proceed in an environmentally-sustainable manner – avoiding or reducing adverse impacts to the natural environment and any potentially-occurring threatened or endangered species at the monument.

Title II Design Development of Honouliuli Retaining Wall
Timeline: Currently underway, completion by the end of 2017
Contractor: Mason Architects

As one of primary retaining walls at Honouliuli, the wall that runs adjacent to the monument road pre-dates the Honouliuli Internment Camp and was once part of a historic irrigation system constructed in the 20s-30s which brought water in from northeastern O‘ahu for sugar cane production. Another function of this wall in both the camp-era and presently, is holding back the east gulch wall from collapsing onto the paved access road.

As indicated in Newsletter 2, a 40-foot section of the 225-foot wall has succumbed to pressures from the hillside and vegetation and will fail if not rehabilitated. Having been awarded funding to commence with design work for the wall, local staff brought surveyors out the monument this month so that they could collect information needed for forging a design scheme for the wall. This project will seek to preserve the historic appearance to the greatest degree possible, and local NPS staff will coordinate with regional agency cultural resource specialists, the State Historic Preservation Department and other advisors before a design is finalized.

Archaeological Documentation of Roads and Trails
Timeline: Fieldwork 2018, Final Report due May 2019
Contractor: International Archaeology

Although historical maps and images have provided basic information regarding the location of some of the primary roads and trails within the Honouliuli Camp, more in-depth documentation and mapping is necessary in order to determine the precise alignment, dimensions and construction materials and sequence of these historic routes. Not only will documenting these networks help NPS managers, partners, stakeholders and the public better understand the historical layout of the camp, but will provide the data required to be able to engage in future trail / road restoration projects which will improve monument access and navigability. Within the parameters of the funding available, the road / trail network to be mapped spans Compounds 1 to 6, and includes routes on both the east and west side of the Honouliuli stream. The western access trail into Honouliuli is included in the scope of work.


Archeological Inventory and Documentation Project at Honouliuli
Phase 1 – ongoing, completion by March 2018
Phase 2 – March 2018 to December 2018
Project Partner: University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu

As referenced in Newsletter 2, a Cooperative Agreement established between the University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu (UHWO) and NPS in 2016 established a framework through which archeological data collection and documentation methods at Honouliuli could be streamlined. Led by UHWO Professor Dr. William Belcher, assisted by Archeologists Jeff Burton and Mary Farrell and carried out with invaluable guidance from the Integrated Resource Manager at Hawai‘i Volcanos National Park, Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura, this project began in late 2016 and culminated into 6-weeks of fieldwork at Honouliuli in June of 2017. After receiving training in agency data collection methods and standards, students worked to consolidate all existing archeological data into a format usable to NPS managers, as well as pursue additional survey work to uncover and document new features at Honouliuli. Pacific Historic Parks employee Johanna Fuller served as an on-site representative to students throughout the duration of the field school, as well as provided critical assistance and site expertise throughout the duration of the project.

Given the high potential for discovering even more new features at Honouliuli, this project has been extended into a second phase to include more fieldwork and resource documentation in 2018. Survey efforts for the 2018 session will focus on Compounds V, VI and VII. Funding for Phase 2 was finalized and appropriated in June of 2017.

Field School 2017 – Key Discoveries and Objectives

Compound VI:
A sidewalk was discovered which - initally recorded as being 5 ft long - turned out to extend over 6o ft in length before branching off into two separate directions.
Previously unnoticed stone stairs were uncovered adjacent to a generator building platform.

Compound V
Landscaping features including rocks arranged around a tree and stone-lined enclosure were discovered in the civilian internee compound - likely an attempt to beautify their environment.

Compound I
Excavation of a mess hall foundation at the north end of the camp continued in 2017. The foundation is buried under nearly 3-feet of soil! The depth of this feature indicates the challenges of future survey work in the northern monument compounds, which have been particularly impacted by erosion.

Foundation Document Update
It was announced in Newsletter 2 that Honouliuli had been awarded funding to begin creating a Foundation Document for the new national monument in 2017. Correspondingly, this process is underway and moving forward through the efforts of both local and regional NPS staff members.

For those who may not be familiar, a Foundation Document is a primary planning document produced under NPS, and is meant to serve as underlying guidance for all planning and management decisions by creating a unified understanding of a park unit’s purpose, significance, key interpretive themes, and fundamental resources and values. A second part of the Foundation Document defines the issues a national park unit is facing, and identifies planning and data needs to address those issues. A primary benefit of the Foundation Document for Honouliuli as a new park unit is the opportunity to integrate and coordinate all kinds and levels of future planning from a single, shared understanding of what is most important about the monument.

As part of the Foundation Document process, NPS began gathering input from community stakeholders in March of 2017, conducted an Agency roundtable discussion with NPS staff in the Pacific West Regional Offices, held a small three-day workshop with subject matter experts (April 22 to 24) and held an internal planning session to synthesize all input gathered. The document is currently being drafted, and then will be given to the regional NPS office for a first review. Stakeholders can anticipate having a draft ready for review in January or February of 2018.


The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH) holds a Cooperative Agreement with the National Park Service for Education and Interpretation of the Honouliuli National Monument. Although the monument is not yet open to the public, the JCCH works to educate community members and visitors about the history of the monument through the Honouliuli Education Center (located at the JCCH headquarters in Mo‘ili‘ili), as well as pursues and carries out an array of research projects which will be invaluable for a future interpretive program at the monument.

Through an NPS-funded grant program, it was recently announced that the JCCH was awarded funding to proceed with the following projects in 2018:

Directory of Japanese American Internees of Hawai‘i
The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i will develop an interactive and searchable online database of the 2,263 people of Japanese ancestry who were arrested and detained in Hawai‘i—then a U.S. Territory—during World War II. Families and researchers will be able to find details on an individual’s occupation, family members, place of residence before incarceration, and the confinement site where they were interned. Additional materials, such as oral history transcripts, photos and videos, will be linked to the individual’s data, and will provide more personal insight into those interned at Honouliuli and other internment sites in Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i’s Japanese American Wartime Evacuees
The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH) will archive and digitize over 5,000 pages of documents related to the forced evacuation of 1,500 people of Japanese ancestry from 23 areas throughout Hawai‘i. These individuals were not included in the roughly 2,300 who were interned at Honouliuli, Sand Island, and Hawai‘i’s other internment sites. The history of these “evacuation sites” remained largely unknown until after the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, and is still under-examined. JCCH also will produce a book to document the context and circumstances of this lesser-known history, including the evacuation, government actions, community responses, and evacuee’s personal experiences.


Japanese American Confinement Site Grant Program Accepting Applications!

Grant applications for the Fiscal Year 2018 Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program are now available! All application packages must be received by Wednesday, November 1, 2017 (this is not a postmark date). Please mark your calendars! Applications and guidelines are available on the JACS website:
If you have any questions about projects related to Hawai‘i confinement sites, please contact the NPS-JACS regional representative listed below:

Jacqueline Ashwell
(808) 725-6146

Last updated: December 20, 2017

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Mailing Address:

National Park Service
Honouliuli National Monument
1845 Wasp Boulevard, Building #176

Honolulu, HI 96818


(808) 725-6149

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