Waimanalo Forest Reserve Eyed For Hardwoods, Orchard Crops

Public comment is due by this Friday on the state of Hawaii’s draft forest management plan for the Waimanalo Forest Reserve.

Covering 484 acres of conservation land to the northwest end of Waimanalo valley, the reserve is densely forested and offers the only publicly accessible horseback riding trail on Oahu.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources proposes to replace invasive trees with native ones to protect the watershed, plant high-value native hardwoods on the steep slopes for timber, cultivate fruit and nut orchards at the lower elevations, and maintain buffer zones around the public access trails.

According to DLNR officials, community orchards could be established through a partnership between state forestry and Waimanalo community groups, with open-access harvesting.

“This is an opportune time for the public to provide their input on a long-term plan to conserve the watershed, ensure public access to authorized trails, and enhance biodiversity,” said DLNR chairman William Aila Jr., noting that several area stake-holders were consulted in developing the plan.

The Waimanalo Forest Reserve Forest Management Plan for 2013 (Draft) can be viewed at hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.

Comments should be mailed to the DLNR at 2135 Makiki Heights Drive, Honolulu HI 96822.

For more information, call Ryan Peralta at 973-9784.