Hawai‘i Island

Place-Based Visitor Education Continues on Hawai‘i Island

Jul 31, 2023

With funding from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) and in collaboration with the County of Hawai‘i and Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau (IHVB), five aging signs at the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout displaying historical and cultural ‘ike (knowledge) and mo‘olelo (stories) of Waipi‘o Valley were replaced with new signage in April.

The original lookout signs were installed to share place-based information on Waipi‘o Valley with those visiting the area. In the years since their installation, the signs had aged and deteriorated significantly, making their text illegible. Replacing the signs was necessary to continue properly sharing Waipi‘o Valley’s storied history.

“Supporting the community and better sharing the historic and cultural significance of special places, including Waipi‘o, is what residents have asked for in our Hawai‘i Island Destination Management Action Plan,” said Caroline Anderson, HTA’s Director of Planning. “We are pleased to be able to support this important project in partnership with the County of Hawai‘i and Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau.”

Replacement of the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout’s signage was funded and completed as part of efforts to implement the Hawai‘i Island Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP). Replacing the signage reinforces DMAP Action A to protect and preserve culturally significant places and hotspots, and Subaction A.4 to work with the different stakeholders to communicate areas that need to be protected with the visitor industry and visitors.

“IHVB continues to work hand in hand with HTA, the County of Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i Island residents in educating visitors to be pono by sharing the stories of the areas they visit,” said IHVB Destination Manager Rachel Kaiama. “These new signs are a testament of our efforts through the DMAP in encouraging mindful visitation and behaviors, and perpetuating people and place through mo‘olelo.”

Waipi‘o Valley Road continues to be closed Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The County of Hawai‘i’s Public Works Division recently completed rockfall mitigation work along the road. The second phase of the project for engineering design and permitting activities to address embarkment and road conditions is currently underway.

The project’s main objective is to ensure the safety of residents and visitors by proactively addressing potential rockfall hazards in the area. To facilitate the necessary work and safeguard the public from any potential risks associated with the project, temporarily closing the road daily as a precautionary measure is essential. Road closures will continue until the mitigation project is completed.

“By investing in the protection and preservation of culturally significant places like this, we are fulfilling our commitment to sustainable tourism and fostering a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage of our island,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “We commend the efforts of all involved, honor the partnerships that were bolstered, and look forward to further initiatives that promote mindful visitation and the perpetuation of people and place through storytelling."