Kamehameha Schools Closer to Finding Lessee to Oversee Hāmākua Forestry

Umauma eucalyptus forest. KS courtesy photo.

Kamehameha Schools has moved closer to selecting a new lessee to oversee operations and harvesting of more than 10,000 acres of forest on the Hāmākua Coast of Hawai‘i Island.

Pa‘auilo-based Hawai‘i Forest has been chosen to move on to final negotiations in the selection process.

“We are excited to take this next step in working on a long-term plan for the stewardship of our agricultural lands along the Hāmākua Coast,” said Marissa Harman, director of asset management on Hawai‘i island. “Hawai‘i Forest has a wealth of experience and knowledge in managing land assets and the company also brings to the table a track record of successful engagement with community. Those qualities are important to us.”

Umauma eucalyptus forest. KS courtesy photo.

Kamehameha Schools acquired approximately 30,000 acres from the former Hāmākua Sugar Co. in 1994 and then transitioned the land from sugar to a variety of uses including small-scale commercial, residential, diversified agriculture, pasture and timber forest.

The previous tenant, LHF Lopiwa LLC, notified Kamehameha Schools last year that it would not seek an extension of its lease which expired on Dec. 31, 2016.

On Jan. 3, 2017, Kamehameha Schools sought qualifications from interested bidders to enter into a new agreement for the forest plantation lease. Once qualified, interested bidders were identified and asked to submit proposals for a new lease.

“We sought operators with experience in plantation forest management, marketing, modeling and harvesting,” Harman said. “The new lessee will be responsible for a variety of tasks—harvesting the timber forest, remediating the condition of the land and working with us on a long-term plan for the use of this land beyond timber, including transitioning some of the acreage to other diversified agriculture or community uses.”

Hawai‘i Forest consists of a hui of businesses that include Forest Solutions Inc., and…

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