Kamakou Preserve boardwalk trail.
Kamakou boardwalk trail Kamakou Preserve boardwalk trail. © Richard A. Cooke III

Places We Protect

Kamakou Preserve

Island of Moloka‘i

Kamakou is a rain forest like no other, a rich biological tapestry of native plants and animals.

Overview

Why You Should Visit

Located high in the mountains of East Moloka'i, Kamakou Preserve is a magnificent natural treasure and a rain forest like no other. More than 200 species of native plants are woven together in a rich biological tapestry, providing habitat for native song birds, insects and colorful banded tree snails. A boardwalk takes visitors through a moss-covered rain forest and pristine mountain bog before arriving at a spectacular overlook of Pelekunu Valley. 

How to Prepare for Your Visit

TNC staff and volunteers lead a monthly hike along a narrow boardwalk through Kamakou Preserve. Long pants and covered shoes with adequate traction are recommended for boardwalk hikers. For more information on visiting this preserve, contact  the Moloka`i field office at (808) 553-5236 or e-mail hike_molokai@tnc.org.

What to See: Plants

The preserve is home to a wide variety of native plants, including:

  • The `alani, which is in the same family as common citrus fruits; 
  • The hapu`u, or Hawaiian tree fern; 
  • The `ōhi`a lehua, the signature tree of Hawaii's forests with its brilliant red, yellow or orange blossoms.
What to See: Animals

The last known sightings of the extremely rare Moloka`i thrush (oloma`o) and Moloka`i creeper (kakawahie) were in this forest region, and the vivid green `amakihi can still be seen. The abundant `apapane sips nectar from the brilliant blossoms of the `ōhi`a, while the Hawaiian owl (pueo) soars overhead on a forest hunt.

Why TNC Selected This Site

The rain forest of Kamakou is like no other forest on the planet.  It is an important source of water for Moloka'i and is a magnificent natural treasure.

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

Moloka`i Ranch, Ltd. granted a conservation easement to TNC in 1982 to restore the area and protect it in perpetuity. Kamakou Preserve is managed in partnership with the State Department of Land & Natural Resources through the Natural Area Partnership Program.

TNC is a founding member of the East Moloka`i Watershed Partnership, of which Kamakou is a part. The main focus of the Moloka`i partnership is to protect and enhance high-quality native Hawaiian rain forest communities.