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Difficult to reach Big Island locations offer virtual tours

Puʻu Waʻawaʻa is one of the few dry forest ecosystems in Hawaiʻi, and home to many endangered plants and birds.

Visitors can now virtually visit Puʻu Waʻawaʻa and the Nāpuʻu region of Hawaiʻi Island.

They are the latest areas to be added to a collection of online virtual tours by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The dry forest areas are home to many of the world’s most endangered plants.

The virtual tour of the region gives a full 360-degree view — including the botanical trail and the summit.

The state Legislature is providing $200,000 for the restoration and remediation of the region.

"Puʻu Waʻawaʻa is an asset of statewide significance. We need to address the concerns here to allow for safe public access for recreational purposes but also this is a place that lots of important scientific research is being done and a lot of restoration work for restoring the forest habitat that's here that's so important to our local birds," said state Rep. David Tarnas, who helped secure the funds.

Continuing efforts to clean the area include removing a buried fuel tank and clearing asbestos.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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