Just as we need rest, so does Pololu. RESToration.
Pololū is sacred and rich with the history of our ancestors. This wahi pana is our 'ohana. What is a wahi pana? Wahi pana is a legendary, storied place where āʻina and mo'okuauhau connect. Ancestors pass down mo'olelo to their 'ohana and they are lineal descendants. Much of this area has remained untouched until recently with the rising amount of visitors. Our efforts are focused on protecting Pololū for generations to come, through education and stewardship of the land.
About Protect Pololu
PROTECT POLOLŪ Project is an approved community project under the fiscal sponsorship of North Kohala Community Resource Center, a 501c-3 non profit organization in North Kohala. Our project is comprised of lineal descendants, cultural practitioners and the extended Kohala community. Our efforts are focused on protecting Pololu through education and stewardship of the land.
Artist Ashley Lukashevsky
Projects to Fund
The Pololū Trail Stewardship Program is a collaborative project with lineal descendent community of Pololū, Makanikahiō and neighboring ahupuaʻa., Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, KUPU, Nā Ala Hele Trails and Access Program. Due to the rapid increase of visitors to the Pololū Lookout, Trail, and coastal shoreline, there is a growing need to mitigate the impacts to the community. Our efforts are focused on protecting Pololu through education and stewardship of the land. We are blessed to have stewards who know and love this wahi pana. Donate here.
'A'OHE HANA NUI KE ALU 'IA.
No task is too big when done together by all.
Kamehameha & Kohala
Learn more about the moʻolelo of Kamehameha & Kohala.
Moʻolelo by historian, kūpuna and ancestor uncle Fred Cachola.
Rest in Aloha uncle.
Things to know before you decide to visit Pololu:
wehewehe.org for translation of Hawaiian words.
Iwi kūpuna are ancestral burial grounds. For years we held this secret close, but recent over-tourism to the valley has made it essential to raise awareness of the burials and traditions of puʻe one (sand dunes) and our ʻiwi kupuna (ancestors bones). The significance of ancestral remains are deeply rooted in Native Hawaiian identity. Iwi kūpuna are at the naʻau of oneʻs connection to ancestry that strengthens and guides our understanding of ʻĀina and eachother. These sites are now protected by conservation zoning, and many of them are located on private property. Yup, you read that right, the front third of the valley, with the exception of the public trail and beach access, is privately owned by a mixture of landowners, including kuleana landowners. Keep out and stay off the puʻe one.
Enjoy the Beauty. Don't Change It.
Stacking rocks, swinging over burial mounds (sand dunes), altering cultural features is a desecration of this sacred space. Pololū has a muliwai (estuary). Stacking rocks at Pololū destroys ecosystems and disturbs natural habitats. "Ka pōhaku kihi paʻa." (A reliable, dependable person). Pōhaku have kuleana. They are the reliable, dependable "person" to the special plants, animals and life of Pololū. Donʻt stack pōhaku. Enjoy this place, and leave it as untouched as possible, so the next person can enjoy the same beauty you did today.
Visit with Gratitude.
Be humble, visit with gratitude, not attitude. Pololū stewards are there to help. Donʻt bring an entitled ego to this wahi pana. Pololū often has itʻs own way of humbling visitors with attitude. We have a saying, "'Awini 'ai kanaka" (Awini the man eaters). This comes from the protected traditions of the valleys. They were not accessed by all during the Kingdom era, those who had no kuleana in the valleys rarely made it out alive. This was due as much to the protective nature of the valley families as it was to the valleys themselves.
No camping is allowed at Pololū. This area is a conservation zone. Camping can cause damage to sites including unmarked burials. There are a mixture of landowners, including kuleana landowners at Pololū. Visitors on private property may be cited for trespassing. Also, a recent House bill passed in March 2023 to make hikers pay if they need to be rescued on illegal hikes on private property.
No Wedding Ceremonies
No wedding ceremonies are allowed at Pololū. Lineal descendants and Pololū 'ohana prefer no commercial photography or filming, blogging, or geotagging. Their focus is on minimizing visitors and perpetuating environmental and cultural resources by protecting Pololū from oversharing, overcrowding and monetization. Itʻs about having balance. Pololū is tired and needs to rest.
Swim At Your Own Risk
Local residents and experienced rescue divers donʻt swim at Pololū. They know the ocean and currents of Pololū are unpredictable and a slow moving stream can turn into a raging river quickly and unexpectedly blocking access to trails. Not all rescues at Pololū are successful. Our stewards will call for rescue services, but this does not guarantee a person will be saved. Prevention is part of protecting Pololū and visitors.
Parking Is Limited
Pololū stewards monitor the parking spaces at Pololū. Visitors who are not hiking or persons with disabilities may park for 10-15 minutes in designated spaces if they are not hiking into the valley. Otherwise, parking is first come, first serve.
No drones are not allowed at Pololū. This is important to protect āina a holoholona lōhiu (wildlife) and preserve cultural and natural resources.
There Are No Restrooms At Pololū
The increase in visitors to Pololū is overwhelming and several visitors have been caught relieving themselves and leaving their used toilet paper in and around the valley. This is disrespectful and unsanitary!
Remain in Public Access Areas
This is a rough hike and erosion of the trail due to the increase of visitors and weather has made it harder. The trail along the beach and the beach access are for public use. Please stay out of private properties. Trails are also extremely hazardous. Public is not encouraged to use trails beyond the Pololū beach area. If you plan to hike be prepared. We recommend shoes (not slippers) and enough water to stay hydrated, especially on wela days.
Pololū stewards will call for rescue services if needed, but time is essential with every rescue. There is only one windy road in and out of Pololū, additionally rescue workers may have to make their way down the trail and into the valley for a rescue. Rescues at Pololū often require helicopter medivac services. This is "taxing" for ʻohana whose family members risk their own lives during a rescue and itʻs costly. A recent House bill passed in March 2023 to make hikers pay if they need to be rescued on illegal hikes on private property.