Last updated: January 31, 2022
Cellular Signal, Parking - Auto, Trailhead
Welcome to Hosmer Grove Trailhead! Begin here at the trail sign to explore Hosmer Grove along this .6 mile loop trail through an "alien" forest and native shrubland.
Before you begin, take a minute to observe your surroundings. Through human curiosity and time, this landscape has been shaped and altered to what you see around you today. Around the mid-1800s, tree harvesting, ranching and the introduction of feral animals such as goats and pigs had wrecked havoc on native Hawaiian forests everywhere. In an attempt to salvage the water storing capacity of native forests (which were viewed at the time as in unavoidable decline) people began planting fast growing introduced or “alien” species. One of these researchers was Ralph Hosmer, who planted several of the species you'll be walking alongside today, in Hosmer Grove. The interconnection of plants and animals, native and non-native, give insight into how best to manage this forest into the future.
Our views and attitudes towards ecosystem management have changed over time, and this forest is a great example of the early days of trial and error in a research forest. Hosmer Grove has given park scientists a chance to view the interactions of introduced tree species such as conifers and eucalyptus, with a native habitat of trees, shrubs, forest birds, and native insects. In early experiments by land managers in Hawai’i, plants and animals were introduced, but without proper research some species took a strong foothold and became invasive, spreading rapidly.
While his intentions were good, Hosmer didn't fully realize the effect these actions might have on the surrounding ecosystem. As you journey on to the next stop, can you think of a time something didn't go as you had planned?