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Kula Forest Reserve



On the leeward slopes of Haleakalā, the Kula Forest Reserve (FR) was established by Governor’s Proclamation in 1912 with a purpose much different from most other forest reserves. It was established with the intent to reforest the area that had been converted to pasture after 20 years of livestock grazing. This 4,931.35 acres of public land is bordered primarily by privately owned land, but the mauka boundary of Kula FR is directly adjacent to the Papa‘anui Tract of the Kahikinui FR. The Papa‘anui Tract was included with Kula FR in the management plan due to their adjacency to one another. The remaining majority of Kahikinui FR will be address in a separate plan at a later date. Papa‘anui consists of approximately 713.57 acres of public land located on the ridge top just above the Kula FR.

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

Allowed Activities
Tent Camping

Additional Information

Current Management

Current management activities of these areas are carried out by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). Some of these activities include:

  • Weed management (monitor, map, and control)
  • Access road and infrastructure maintenance
  • Boundary fence and rare plant exclosure maintenance
  • Native and threatened and endangered (T&E) outplanting
  • Native plant seed collection and storage (seed banking)
  • Firebreak/fuelbreak maintenance
  • Nā Ala Hele trail maintenance
  • Water unit maintenance for game bird species
  • Predator control (mongoose, rat, and cats)

Public Uses

Hunting: DOFAW manages public hunting on all forest reserve lands on Maui and regulates hunting days, seasons, bag limits, and means of take. The Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) enforces hunting regulations found in Chapter 121, HAR Rules Regulating the Hunting of Wildlife on Public Lands and Other Lands, Chapter 122, HAR Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting, and Chapter 123, HAR Rules Regulating Game Mammal Hunting.

The state lands that comprise Kula FR are separated into two non-contiguous pieces by privately held land (Figure 23) that is currently owned by Kaonoulu Ranch. In 1955, an agreement was negotiated with the ranch to allow public hunting on the approximately 994 acres of tax map keys (2) 2-2-007:002 and (2) 2-2-007:010. On September 11, 1998, the Board approved a Cooperative Game Management Agreement (CGMA) for the subject area, replacing the original agreement that had expired by that time. DOFAW continues to manage the area as a CGMA.

Kula Forest Reserve, Papa‘anui, and the Kaonoulu CGMA are all part of hunting unit C, and a small portion of Kula FR is included within unit E (Figure 23). Game mammals found within these hunting units consist of feral pigs (Sus scrofa), goats (Capra hirca), and axis deer (Axis axis). Game birds in hunting unit C include: Common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), black francolin (Francolinus francolinus), chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar), gray francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus), California quail (Callipepla californica), barred doves (Geopelia striata), and spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis).

DOFAW’s 2001 Draft Management Guidelines separate Game Animal Management into four categories: Game Production (A-1), Mixed Game and Other Uses (A-2), Game Control (public) (A-3), and Game Control (supervised) (A-4). All lands within Kula FR (4931 acres), Papa‘anui (714 acres), and the CGMA (994) are classified as A 2, where game management is an objective integrated with other uses (Figure 15). DOFAW is currently in the process of updating its Management Guidelines.

Camping: Camping is only allowed at the Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area, which is managed by the DLNR Division of State Park. Camping permits for the state park are available online at

Fishing: No fishing opportunities are available in Kula FR or Papa‘anui.

Hiking: There are twelve Nā Ala Hele hiking trails in Kula FR and Papa‘anui. See section G: Access above for more details.

Horseback Riding: Horseback riding is not permitted in Kula FR or Papa‘anui. See section G: Access above for more details.

Dirt Bikes, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Mountain Bikes: Starting from the FR Entrance gate (Figure 21), only street legal 4WD vehicles are allowed on Polipoli Access Road through Skyline trail up until Kanahau Gate; non-motorized mountain bikes may be used on Boundary Trail, Māmane Trail, Redwood Trail, Skyline trail, Waiakoa Loop Trail and Upper Waiohuli/Waiakoa Trail.


The word “kula” is translated as plain or open country, and is also used as a term to describe dry arid lands. The moku (district) of Kula manifests this description and encompasses most of the central plains of Maui. Although the region was not believed to support much kalo production, ‘uala (sweet potato) thrived in this dry environment and was once considered the staple crop of this area.

In the late 1880’s, crown and government lands in Kula were leased for pasture purposes. By 1912, the former extent of the forest was still evident by the “dead stubs, small groups of trees in certain steep-sided gulches where they are protected from cattle, and scattered groves of Mamane,” (Hosmer 1912). After decades of cattle ranching and grazing, the original forest cover, likely dominated by koa (Acacia koa), ʻōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha), māmane (Sophora chrysophylla), ‘a‘ali‘i (Dodonaea viscosa) and pūkiawe (Leptecophylla tameiameiae) had been replaced by a dense ground cover of non-native grasses.

Redwoods of Kula FR

An intensive planting program for Kula FR was initiated around 1924, and in the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) planted stands of tropical ash (Fraxinus uhdei), sugi (Cryptomeria japonica), redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), maritime pine (Pinus pinaster), Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) and Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa). It was decided early on that introduced trees of high economic value would be used to create a forest resource that could potentially be harvested in the future. It was also hoped that increasing the forest cover in an area that was considered to have a scarcity of natural supplies of water would help to secure the fresh water resource provided by the springs that occurred in the district.


Public access is available to the majority of the Kula FR and Papa‘anui. Polipoli Access Road (also known as Waipoli Access Road) crosses through private land and provides legal public access through the majority of Kula FR, ending at Kanahau Gate (also known as Yellow Gate). Only street legal 4×4 vehicles are allowed past the FR entrance gate.

Nā Ala Hele, the State of Hawai‘i trail and access program has twelve interconnecting trails that provide additional public access in and around Kula FR and Papa‘anui: Boundary Trail, Redwood Trail, Plum Trail, Tie Trail, Haleakalā Ridge Trail, Skyline Trail, Waiakoa Loop Trail, Upper Waiohuli/Waiakoa Trail, Lower Waiohuli Trail, Māmane Trail, and Polipoli Trail. Additional information can be found at the Nā Ala Hele website.