Public access along the Kapiha‘ā Interpretive Trail covers a distance of about one-half mile, between the upland trailhead to the Fisherman’s Trail on the coast. The County-Hawaii Tourism Authority funding was a part of the product enrichment program, meant to provide residents and visitors with the opportunity to experience special resources in Hawai‘i.
The Kapiha‘ā Interpretive Trail provides travelers with a one mile round trip journey through time, and is the first project of its kind on the island of Lāna‘i.
The Kapiha‘ā preservation area covers some 28 acres, and contains at least fifteen distinct sites, made up of more than 60 features (SIHP No. 50-40-98-86). The preserve contains several types of sites, including a well-preserved traditional village complex.
The cultural resources of Kapiha‘ā offer us a unique opportunity to see how traditional people lived, worked and worshiped on Lāna‘i. The walk through the Kapiha‘ā preservation area reveals cultural resources that have remained much as they were when they were abandoned close to 200 years ago.
This preservation area was set aside to ensure that present and future generations could experience the legacy of Lāna‘i’s traditional people, and the interpretive trail helps you walk safely through the preserve, allowing you to see some of the cultural and natural resources of Lāna‘i. Interpretive signs found along the trail will introduce you to the landscape and identify several different types of sites, including agricultural fields, residences, ceremonial sites, and lithic workshops.
The Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center, in partnership with archaeologists from Cultural Surveys Hawai‘i (under the direction of Hallett Hammatt, Ph.D.), and labor support from LHES, the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps, members of the Maui (Wailea-Kihei) Rotary Clubs, and community volunteers from Lāna‘i, complete the work, improving view planes and trail access through the Kapiha‘ā preserve. Interpretive signage for wayside exhibits, and a detailed brochure, providing those who travel the trail with information on the history of Kapiha‘ā Village and Lāna‘i can be viewed at the link below.
Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps (Lāna‘i High & Elementary School participants, led by Zack Anguay and Makoto Asing), Cultural Surveys Hawaii Staff and Lāna‘i community volunteers joined by Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center’s Executive Director, Kepā Maly, prepare to work at Kapiha‘ā. (Photo KPA-316)
In 2007, the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center, in partnership with the Lāna‘i Archaeological Committee (LAC), entered into agreement to develop an interpretive trail across a section of the coastal plain of leeward Pālāwai. The area, known as Kapiha‘ā, was set aside in the late 1980s as a preservation area of some 28 acres, and is the home of a diverse group of traditional features, ranging from house sites, planting areas and tool workshops, to religious sites.
In October 2008, the County of Maui, Office of Economic Development and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority awarded a grant to the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center for development of an interpretive trail in the Kapiha‘ā preservation area. That grant, along with funding from the LAC and other partners sponsored implementation of work on the interpretive trail, which began that October with students from Lāna‘i High & Elementary School (LHES), assisting archaeologists in plotting GPS coordinates of sites.