Halele‘a Forest Reserve
Halele‘a is Kaua‘i’s first forest reserve, and was established by Governor’s Proclamation in 1905 for the purpose of forest and watershed protection. The forest reserve currently consists of approximately 15,000 acres of public land.
The area is characterized by deep, wide valleys, abundant streams, and heavy rainfall. In addition to its rich biological and cultural resources, Hanalei Valley provides many downstream users with an abundant source of water.
Game mammal and Game bird hunting opportunities are offered on the six major islands in the State of Hawai‘i: (Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and the big island of Hawai‘i). Each of these islands has one or more State-designated public hunting areas (called Hunting Units), which are open for hunting at certain times during each year. Game mammal and game bird hunting opportunities are also available on private lands as well. Occasionally, the Division of Forestry & Wildlife (DOFAW) may modify or cancel a hunting season in a particular area to adjust for changes in weather conditions or animal populations.
Division of Forestry and Wildlife Hunting Website
Game Mammal Hunting Rules and Exhibits
Game Bird Hunting Rules and Exhibits
DOFAW’s current management objectives for Halele‘a Forest Reserve include management of Okolehau Trail, monitoring invasive plants/animals, enhancement of native rare plant resources, maintenance of Pritchardia exclosure(s), and management of the pig hunt.
Halele‘a Forest Reserve can be reached from Kapaka Street or ‘Ōhiki Road (off Kuhio Highway). Minimal parking is available at both locations. Na Ala Hele, the State of Hawai‘i Trail and Access Program, manages two trails at Halele‘a Forest Reserve; Powerline Trail and Okolehau Trail. Hiking on undesignated trails is not recommended due to the potential for natural hazards.
Additional Public Use
Hunting: DOFAW manages public hunting on all forest reserve lands on Kaua‘i by the regulation of hunting seasons, bag limits, and varied hunting methods. DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) carries out enforcement of hunting regulations (HAR Chapter 122 Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting, and Chapter 123 Rules Regulating Game Mammal Hunting). General hunting regulations can be found in HRS Title 13 Chapter 121. Halele‘a Forest Reserve contains two of four possible Game Animal management classes (Figure 5) according to DOFAW’s 2001 Draft Management Guidelines: A-2: Mixed Game and Other Uses and A-4: Game Control (supervised). In A-2 areas, game management is an objective integrated with other uses. Habitat may be manipulated for game enhancement and game populations are managed to acceptable levels using public hunting. A-4 areas are designated for animal removal only by staff or agency designees due to environmental sensitivity, remoteness, or public safety. Both the hunting regulations and the Draft management Guidelines are currently being revised. Management guideline revisions will likely amend most of the Forest Reserve to A-3: Game Control (public). In these areas resource protection is the primary objective, with emphasis on native plant communities and watersheds. Seasons and bag limits are designed for public hunting to reduce impacts to native resources.
As part of Hunting Unit C, mammal hunting is allowed in Halele‘a Forest Reserve but game bird hunting is not. Game mammals that occur in Halele‘a Forest Reserve include feral goats (Capra hircus hircus) and pigs (Sus scrofa scrofa). Although the area does not provide suitable habitat for many game birds, Lace-neck/spotted doves (Streptopelia chinensis) and Barred doves (Geopelia striata) are common. Wild chickens (Gallus gallus) may be heard in the valleys and Ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) are sometimes seen in grassy openings along Powerline Trail.
Camping: No overnight camping is allowed in Halele‘a Forest Reserve.
Fishing: Freshwater fishing is allowed in the Hanalei River; game fish present include ‘o‘opu, small mouth bass, tilapia, and prawns.
Hiking: Hiking is available along the Powerline Trail, a 13 mile trail that is best attempted in dry weather. It is an all day hike with an elevation gain of 1568 feet, where it is steep, eroded, and slippery at the saddle. Look out for bicycles, horses, and motorcycles, which are also allowed on the trail. Okolehau Trail is a hiking-only trail with an elevation gain of 1232 feet over its 2¼ mile length. See Section G: Access above for more details.
Horseback Riding: Horseback riding is allowed on the Powerline Trail.
Dirt Bikes, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Mountain Bikes: Mountain bikes are allowed on Powerline Trail, as are dirt bikes if they are registered by the County Division of Motor Vehicles. No bikes of any type are allowed on Okolehau Trail. ATVs are not allowed in Halele‘a Forest Reserve.