Molokaʻi Forest Reserve
The Moloka‘i Forest Reserve was established by Governor’s Proclamation in 1912 to protect and permanently maintain mountain forests to ensure the continued regular stream flow and water resources. The Reserve is spread across east Moloka’i and is currently comprised of several non-contiguous areas totaling 11,690 acres of public land.
Moloka‘i Forest Reserve’s ecosystems and terrain vary widely between the different areas of the reserve. The western sections are generally drier and more accessible, while eastern sections are generally wetter, more mountainous, and contain higher quality native ecosystems. Several exotic timber plantations exist in western sections of the Reserve. Infrastructure consists primarily of Na Ala Hele trails, rough roads, and a picnic area with a basic campsite. Public hunting (birds and mammals) is allowed in Moloka‘i Forest Reserve.
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
Rules & Regulation
Public access is available to the western portion of the Moloka‘i Forest Reserve. All other sections of the reserve are in remote and steep areas that have little or no road or trail access. The forest reserve is accessible from Highway 460 to the 4WD Maunahui Road (Moloka‘i Forest Reserve Road) about 3.5 miles northwest of Kaunakai. Stretches of road/trails that lie within the Forest Reserve boundaries are only periodically maintained, therefore vehicular access may be difficult.
Hunting: General hunting regulations can be found in HRS Title 13 Chapter 121. DOFAW’s 2001 Draft Management Guidelines separates 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 Moloka‘i Forest Reserve are classified as A2, where game management is an objective integrated with other uses. Although most of the Forest Reserve falls within designated hunting units, some areas have limited or no public access (see Section G: Access above). DOFAW also manages hunting within the mauka State-owned lands at Keǀpuka Loa in east Moloka‘i; this area shares a boundary with Honouli Wai and is also classified A-2.
DOFAW regulates game mammal hunting according to HRS Title 13 Chapter 123. Public hunting areas on Moloka‘i, designated as Units, are described in §13-123-17 and mapped in Chapter 123 Exhibit 6. The western sections of Moloka‘i Forest Reserve lie within Units C, D, and E, while the eastern sections lie within Units A and B. Feral pigs (Sus scrofa scrofa) and goats (Capra hircus hircus), and Axis deer (Axis axis) are the designated game mammals in Moloka‘i Forest Reserve.
DOFAW regulates game bird hunting according to HRS Title 13 Chapter 122. Public game bird hunting areas on Moloka‘i, also designated as Units, are described in §13-122-11.3 and mapped in Chapter 122 Exhibit 6. The western sections of Moloka‘i Forest Reserve lie within Units C, D, and E. No game bird hunting is permitted in the eastern sections of the Forest Reserve. Game birds on Moloka‘i include Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), Green pheasant (Phasianus versicolor), Gambel’s quail (Callipepla gambelii), California quail (Callipepla californica), Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica), Erckels’ francolin (Francolinus erckelii), Chuckar partridge (Alectoris chukar), Gray francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus), Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus), Barred dove (Geopelia striata), Spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis), and Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
Camping: Camping in the Forest Reserves is allowed only with a permit and at official campsites. Moloka‘i Forest Reserve has only one official campsite, which is located at Waikolu Lookout. Permits are currently free of charge and must be obtained in advance from the DOFAW Maui or Moloka‘i offices.
Fishing: There are no fishing opportunities in Moloka‘i Forest Reserve.
Hiking: Hiking opportunities exist along Maunahui Road (Moloka‘i Forest Reserve Road), which is managed by Na Ala Hele. Maunahui Road loops from Highway 460 at Kalama‘ula, mauka to the Forest Reserve, then back down to Highway 460 (foot traffic only) at Makakupa‘ia. This trail passes by the Lua nƗ moku ‘iliahi (sandalwood measuring pit) and leads to Waikolu Lookout, whose facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Waikolu Lookout provides camping, picnic tables and a simple shelter, toilet facilities, as well as sweeping views of Waikolu Valley.
Hiking is also allowed on the other rough roads and trails within the western section of the Forest Reserve, although these may be only periodically maintained by DOFAW. It is recommended that hikers wear bright colored clothing as hunters also use the area. The eastern sections of Moloka‘i Forest Reserve currently have no public access and DOFAW maintains no trails or roads here.
Horseback Riding: Horseback riding is permitted on Moloka‘i Forest Reserve Road.
Dirt Bikes, All Terrain/Utility Vehicles (ATV/UTVs) and Mountain Bikes: Street legal dirt bikes and mountain bikes are allowed on designated roads only. Users are advised to check with DOFAW to confirm locations where bikes are allowed. ATVs and UTVs are not allowed within the Forest Reserve.
Current Management Objectives
DOFAW’s current principle objectives for the management of Moloka‘i Forest Reserve focus around:
- maintaining a healthy watershed;
- protecting forest resources from fire, insects, and disease; and
- maintaining habitat for threatened, endangered, and rare plants and animals.