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How did the Hawai’ians of olden times survive in such an inhospitable, barren wasteland as Kohala? At Lapakahi (meaning “single ridge”) State Historical Park you can walk through the partially –restored remains of a 600-year old Hawai’ian fishing village, Koai’e.

One must bear in mind that Kohala was not always the barren wasteland seen today. Initially dryland forest, a thousand years ago or more the native Hawai’ians burned the forest to clear farmland for dryland crops such as sweet potato. Primitive farming techniques, overpopulation, erosion from storms, lava flows and lack of irrigation water eventually desertified much of the previously forested coast. With the coming of Europeans, over-grazing by cattle prevented the ecosystem from repairing itself once the native Hawai’ians had deserted it.

Contrary to what Park staff may tell you, snorkeling is both permissible and delightful in Koai’e Cove, adjacent to this site.

Admission is free, self-guided tour takes about 45 minutes. Portable toilets, no water.

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