Sunset Ranch has dedicated a large portion of the property to botanical gardens.  We have a wide variety of native and non-native flora and fauna all around the property.  Sunset Ranch is also continuing to work on plans for an interactive nursery on-site.  The nursery will be located on the southeast portion of the property.  The primary objectives of the nursery at Sunset Ranch are to:  (i) establish a satellite nursery for native Hawaiian flora and fauna in partnership with Hi’ipaka; (ii) educate the local community and other visitors on native versus non-native plants, and (iii) establish a staging area at Sunset Ranch to conduct local hikes into the mauka regions of the valley in an effort to maintain invasive species and to reintroduce native species, where appropriate and able.

(i) satellite nursery

Hi’ipaka is the owner and operator of Waimea Valley.  Waimea Valley  is an 1875 acre sacred Hawaiian preserve that is located just south of Sunset Ranch and home to over 5000 tropical and subtropical plants.  Sunset Ranch and Hi’ipaka see two primary reasons for a strategic partnership:  (i) a satellite nursery at Sunset Ranch provides a facility away from the threat of landslides in the valley, and (ii) the higher elevation at Sunset Ranch provides for a more productive nursery for certain native Hawaiian species.  Sunset Ranch is excited about this partnership, and committed to the benefits this site will bring to Waimea Valley and the community.

(ii) education

Sunset Ranch is excited about using the nursery as a tool to educate the community on native versus non-native plants, and the importance of land conservation and self-sustainability in Hawaii.  The design of the nursery will be interactive in nature and allow children, students, families and visitors to see native plants up close.  Visitors will also be able to learn about invasive species and the history of the surrounding area.

(iii) staging area

Sunset Ranch is also interested in establishing the nursery as a staging area to lead community efforts to maintain invasive species and reintroduce native species, where appropriate and able.  Our vision is for visitors to educate themselves on native versus non-native plants, and then take their newly acquired knowledge into the valley.  We also hope to work with schools and organizations such as the Boy Scouts to organize these efforts into meaningful and effective programs.

We truly believe that the Nursery at Sunset Ranch can be a meaningful tool to advance the causes of land conservation and self-sustainability on the North Shore of Oahu. If you’re interested in our Nursery efforts at Sunset Ranch, or you have any thoughts or feedback, please feel free to contact us through our Contact tab, or call us at (808) 638-8333.  Mahalo!

As many are now aware, the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT) played a critical role in the protection of Sunset Ranch and now manages the stewardship fund that will insure its permanent protection.  That said, it is also important to recognize the significance of the NSCLT’s broader role regarding land conservation on Oahu’s North Shore.  For example, did you know that the NSCLT played a significant role in the permanent protection of Pupukea-Paumalu (~1129 acres north of Sunset Ranch)?  This was a parcel that was otherwise subject to significant commercial and residential development that would have negatively impacted the North Shore in so many different ways.  And how about Waimea Valley?  Did you know that the NSCLT was instrumental in the protection of Waimea Valley (~1875 acres south of Sunset Ranch)?  This culturally significant parcel was also threatened by development.  Thanks to the NSCLT and other local organizations, all of this important land on the North Shore has been permanently protected.  The bottom line?  NSCLT is an incredible organization comprised of exceptional individuals who have nothing but the very best interests of the North Shore community in mind.  If you’re interested in land conservation on the North Shore of Oahu, the NSCLT is an organization that you need to know about.  Here is their stated mission:

The mission of the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT) is to protect, steward, and enhance the natural landscapes, cultural heritage, and rural character of ahupua‘a from Kahuku Point to Ka‘ena.

So how can you learn more about land conservation in Hawaii? And how can you get involved?

1.  The NSCLT holds ‘talk story’ events to get the word out and explain not only their efforts, but various land conservation programs available to the community and to land owners.  We highly recommend that you get in touch with the NSCLT and inquire about their next ‘ talk story’ event.  Not only will it be informative, it will get you excited about land conservation in Hawaii.

2.  The NSCLT is currently developing a thoughtful strategy to prioritize land conservation efforts on the North Shore through their “Greenprinting Project”.  Given the amount of land that is currently for sale on the North Shore (through Dole, Continental Pacific and others), it is important to understand the significance of this project.  The NSCLT has a new fundraising campaign called “7 FOR 7” that will assist with raising money for this effort.  Check out the “7 FOR 7” video on our drop down menu on the Event page.

3.  For additional information, or if you want to get actively involved with land conservation on the North Shore of Oahu, contact Sunset Ranch at (808)638-8333 or NSCLT at (808)638-0338.  We also suggest you visit the NSCLT’s web-site at www.northshoreland.org to learn more.

So please get involved with the important cause that is land conservation in Hawaii.  While monetary donations to the NSCLT are great (you can now easily donate via Crowdrise here); we also encourage you to donate your time.  There are many ways to get involved, and the time to get involved is now.  Mahalo!

Please join us on Sunday, November 21st from 2 pm to 6 pm to celebrate the perpetual protection of Sunset Ranch, and one of the first private conservation easements in Hawaii.  This event is an Open House!  There will be pupus, entertainment and tours around the property.  It will be a very special day.  We hope to see you there!

 I also wanted to share a few critical points of mention with regard to the benefits that come along with private conservation easements.

1.  The objective of land conservation is achieved at a fraction of the cost.  How so?  The purchasers of the conservation easement (or development rights) are not paying fair market value for the property because they are not taking ownership.  Instead, the purchasers are buying the development rights of the land.  The value of the development rights is determined by valuing the property WITH the development rights and WITHOUT the development rights.  The delta, or the difference between these two values, is what is determined as the value of the developments rights.  So when you understand the difference in values being considered (WITH developments versus WITHOUT development rights), you can quickly understand how these federally based conservation programs allow for state and local agencies to achieve their goals of land conservation at a fraction of the cost;

2.  Property maintenance and liability remains the responsibility of the land owner.  Since the purchasers involved with the transaction are buying the developments rights and not the property, all financial and legal responsibility remains with the land owner.  This is an especially critical point for agencies that cannot afford to carry the added financial burden that would otherwise come along with ownership.  Of course the absence of any liability exposure associated with the property is also a huge benefit to agencies that are committing funds to these projects; and

3.  The property remains a revenue source for the City & County.  Again, the land owner continues to hold title to the underlying land and therefore continues to be reponsible for property taxes assessed by the City & County.  Alternatively, under a public conservation easement, oftentimes the State or City & County takes ownership of the land and the property tax revenue source is completely lost.  This is a significant amount of revenue!  When you consider this pont along with the two previous points, the value of private conservation easements becomes quite clear.

Our mission at Sunset Ranch is to establish the property as a platform to help advance land conservation and self-sustainability in Hawaii.  In order to effectively do this, we need to start by helping educate the community on the programs that exist and are available to landowners.  With regard to land conservation, when you consider the amount of land that is currently for sale by Dole and others on the North Shore or Oahu, it is very clear that the time is now to help advance the cause.