The country is still country. North Shore residents are cheering as the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT) has permanently acquired the 1,129 acres of land that rests above the seven-mile miracle stretch of shore and home to some of surfing's most notable breaks. With the help of surf standouts like Jack Johnson and organizations like the Quiksilver Foundation, Surfrider Foundation Japan, and many others, North Shore residents can rest assured that the rolling hills and mountains that serve as a focal point on the North Shore landscape will remain pristine and undeveloped.
In 2002, Japanese-based Obayashi Corporation listed the land above Pupukea for sale. Purchased by Obayashi in 1974, the land was originally slated for residential development complete with 315 lots and a sewage treatment plant. For over 20 years, North Shore residents battled developers’ plans to transform the majestic location into suburban infrastructure.
With the help of a less-than-favorable economic market and corporate restructuring, Obayashi put the land up for sale as North Shore activists scrambled to find a way to protect it. After 20 years of labor by North Shore residents along with the help of different state, county, and community partners, the purchase of the property has become a reality.
For North Shore residents, life's not all peaches and cream – or maybe more accurately, barrels and barbecues. For many residents, knowing that the land above Pupukea will remain undeveloped is a step in the right direction.
"I think it's awesome. I'm so happy that future generations will be able to enjoy the land and not have it turned into some shopping center or suburbs or anything like that," said North Shore resident Chris Latronic.
Blake McElheny, president of the NSCLT and pivotal figure in securing the land, couldn't be happier about its preservation.
"It's really a motivational time for the North Shore residents. We're happy and we're confident. We feel like we have achieved something great."
Currently, there are no plans by the state or county to make any changes to the landscape. Rather, local residents and county officials are focusing on ways to provide safe public access to the area and keep the land in its current state.
In the surfing world, we forget that there's more to Oahu's fabled North Shore than seven miles of perfect peaks and beautiful beaches. Often viewed myopically as a magical place that only warrants our attention when North swells scrape over the perfectly sculpted reefs, the North Shore is much more than surfing's playground.
When photographers pack up the telephoto lenses and the pros head home to prepare for the start of next year's tour, there still exists an entire community who calls the North Shore home year-round – not just when the surf gets good. The preservation of the lands overlooking the North Shore will serve as a constant in a community where everything is changing.
NSCLT is also honored that the Quiksilver Foundation recently made the inaugural donation to the “Pupukea Paumalu Stewardship Fund.” This annual Fund will assist with the permanent protection of the property and will support the coordination of community planning and stewardship activities so residents, visitors and surfers from around the world will be able to enjoy the property in perpetuity.
NSCLT plans on raising at least $150,000 a year for the Pupukea Paumalu Stewardship Fund and has set up a special restricted account for the Fund. All tax-deductible donations to the Fund are designated specifically for acquisition and protection costs for Pupukea Paumalu.
Donations to NSCLT and the Pupukea Paumalu Stewardship Fund can be sent to NSCLT at P.O. Box 1179, Hale’iwa, HI 96712 or can be made online by going to www.northshoreland.org. Also, you can request additional information or volunteer to get involved in the community planning process by emailing info@NorthShoreLand.org