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Hakalau Forest
National Wildlife Refuge

60 Nowelo Street, Suite 100
Hilo, HI   96720 - 2469
E-mail: Jim_Kraus@fws.gov
Phone Number: 808-443-2300
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge consists of the 33,000-acre Hakalau Forest Unit and the 5,300 acre Kona Forest Unit, located at elevations between 2,000 and 6,600 feet on the east and west sides of the island of Hawaii. The sloping terrain is forested with some of the finest remaining stands of native montane rainforest in Hawaii.

The refuge was established to conserve endangered forest birds and their habitat. Together, the two units support 9 endangered bird species, 1 species of endangered bat, and more than 20 rare and endangered plant species.

Major habitat management programs include the control and removal of feral pigs and cattle, control of invasive weeds, restoration of native forests, and wildfire suppression. Major wildlife management programs include population monitoring, predator control, and biological research support.

Getting There . . .
The refuge office is located in Hilo at 60 Nowelo Street, Suite 100. Only the Upper Maulua Unit of Hakalau Forest Refuge is open to the public, and only on weekends and holidays for hiking and photography. There are no interpretive signs, bathrooms, trails, or parking lots.

Visitors must call the refuge office (808-443-2300) a week before their intended visit to get the combination to a locked gate through which they let themselves in and out. A brochure will be mailed which describes the Maulua Unit, and our public access program plus a general brochure which describes the entire refuge and our management programs.

The Upper Maulua Unit can be reached from Hilo or Kona via the Saddle Road (Highway 200): Near the 28-mile marker on the Saddle Road, turn north on the paved Mauna Kea Summit Road and proceed two miles. Turn right (east) across a cattle guard and onto Keanakolu Road (also known as Mana Road). Drive approximately 16.5 miles on this gravel road to the Maulua Gate.

A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for the long and bumpy drive which takes about two hours each way from Hilo or Kona. Contact the refuge office for reservations and current road conditions. Due to its remote location and poor roads, the Upper Maulua Unit gets only a handful of visitors each month.

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Hakalau Forest Unit is located on the windward (eastern) slope of Mauna Kea Mountain, Island of Hawaii between the elevations of 2,500 and 6,600 feet. The refuge was established in 1985 to conserve endangered forest birds and their rain forest habitat. Eight endangered bird species, an endangered bat, and six endangered plant species occur on the refuge.

The Kona Forest Unit is located on the leeward (western) slope of Mauna Loa, Island of Hawaii between 2,000 and 6,000 feet and is somewhat drier than the Hakalau Unit. It was established in 1997 to protect endangered plants and animals including some of the last endangered 'alala (Hawaiian crow) remaining in the wild. It also supports substantial populations of the same native and endangered birds that occur within the Hakalau Unit, the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat and a high diversity of common and rare mesic forest plants and invertebrates.

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Management Activities
Habitat and wildlife management programs at the Hakalau Forest Refuge focused on the recovery of endangered forest birds, plants and their rain forest habitat.

The major habitat management programs include: (1) Eliminating wild pigs and cattle (feral ungulates) and predators by hunting, trapping, and snaring within fenced management units. Feral ungulates are responsible for degrading the rain forest habitat and assisting the spread of mosquitoes and, therefore, avian diseases. (2) Controlling alien plants through the use of herbicides, fire and mechanical removal. Alien plants suppress native and endangered plants which are an essential part of the healthy ecosystem needed to support native and endangered birds. (3) Reforesting grassland and open woodland habitat with native trees and shrubs to provide habitat, food and nest sites for native forest birds. Native forest habitat has been decimated by over 150 years of cattle grazing.

The major wildlife management programs include: (1) Monitoring bird, native plant, introduced weed and feral ungulate populations to determine their response to habitat management efforts. (2) Supporting biological research on native birds, invertebrates and plants to identify the factors responsible for their decline and to determine methods to reverse population declines.

Management programs for the Kona Forest Unit are currently focused on the 'alala. They include research, population monitoring, recovery and partnerships with neighboring landowners. As more resources become available, habitat restoration projects including feral ungulate control, invasive plant control, reforestation and the prevention and suppression of wildfires will receive greater emphasis. Future management actions may also include plant and animal population monitoring, control of disease-carrying mosquitoes, control of avian predators, environmental education and limited public use for wildlife observation.