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Episode 54: Waip? from the mountain to the sea with Stacy Sproat-Beck

In the 1980s the north shore of Kaua‘i witnessed a battle over land development in the Waip? ahupua‘a. On one side was a proposal to build a resort and a golf course. On the other was a local community that wanted to see the land preserved and restored to become a living learning center and Hawaiian cultural center. The community won the fight—and three decades on, the Waip? ahupua‘a has become the thriving center that the community knew it could be. The fact that it’s a complete 1,600-acre ahupua‘a that runs from the mountain to the sea is one of the things that makes it so special, says Stacy Sproat-Beck, the executive director of the organization that cares for the valley, the Waip? Foundation.

“Having access to an entire intact ahupua‘a is such an incredible opportunity because we get to learn and help others to learn how the different ecosystems in the valley are interrelated.”

Sproat-Beck notes that it’s rare to have an entire ahupua‘a under one landowner and that has allowed for an integrated approach.

“We’re doing reforestation in the lower forest areas and we farm in the flatlands just like our k?puna did and we’re restoring a fishpond and native plant communities along the coast and doing monitoring in the stream. We’re able to think about the different ecosystems and how we need to take care of them.”

researcher, writter, and narrator of Aloha Aina. She is currently an editor at Hawai‘i’s largest magazine, Hana Hou!, where she has written and edited numerous award-winning articles about Hawai‘i. She was the founding editor of Honolulu Weekly. She holds a BA in Pacific history and journalism from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa and a JD from Stanford Law School.
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