The North Shore of Oahu is a global treasure. It is home to nearly twenty thousand full-time residents, serves as a recreational resource and rural get-away for Oahu's one million -- and growing -- populace, and is the destination-of-a-life-time for approximately three million visitors from all over the world every year. The fact that nearly one-third of the North Shore is currently for sale -- over twenty thousand acres -- makes efforts to preserve the region's coastal and agricultural landscapes more important now than ever before. Essential statewide goals of enhancing resident quality of life and achieving greater food security are well served by maintaining the North Shore's rural character.
Additionally, the North Shore is a recreational resource like no other in the world. Whether surfing, paddling, snorkeling, sunbathing, fishing, hiking, or going for a ride/walk along a bike path, the North Shore provides countless world-class opportunities to experience nature while engaging in healthy outdoor activities. These experiences greatly enhance resident quality of life and therefore play a vital role in creating a happy and productive society.
The North Shore is also one of the most important agricultural resources in Hawaii. With the vast majority of the state's population living on Oahu (approximately one million), achieving greater food security (Hawaii currently imports 80-90% of its food) requires the state to grow most of its food on Oahu. Because most of Oahu's remaining high quality agricultural lands that are not actively targeted for development are located on the North Shore, preserving the North Shore's agricultural lands is an essential step towards providing residents with access to healthy, affordable, locally-grown food (i.e. food security).
According to the recently-completed North Shore Greenprint Study, the North Shore has approximately sixty thousand acres of agricultural landscapes that have yet to be protected. Recent voluntary land conservation successes such as the protection of Pupukea Paumalu, Waimea Valley, and Galbraith Estate give us good reason to believe that we can achieve the goal of preserving the North Shore as an important rural region that feeds our population and provides it with healthy, outdoor recreational opportunities. The possibility of achieving this goal remains strong and the time to pursue it is now.
Fortuitously, nearly 20,000 acres of Dole Foods Co. land, the 2,700 acre Dillingham Ranch, and several hundred acres of former Campbell Estate lands in Kahuku (now owned by Continental Pacific and related entities) are all for sale today and could be purchased for the purpose of increasing local food production. The fact that over twenty thousand acres of North Shore agricultural lands are available to the highest bidder might be viewed as a threat to this unique rural region, however, it should simultaneously be viewed as an amazing opportunity. These land offerings provide the opportunity of a lifetime to reshape and redefine the role the North Shore plays in creating a healthier, more sustainable Hawaii. Government, voluntary land conservation organizations, social impact investors, triple-bottom-line businesses, and community have been presented with a tremendous opportunity and should not wait any longer before partnering with each other to seize this opportunity for the benefit of all.