Categorized | Business

Hawaii Forest & Trail celebrates 20 years


Rob and Cindy Pacheco have a passion for the natural world of Hawaii. The couple, who founded Hawaii Forest & Trail in May 1993 respect that these islands contain diverse and unique ecosystems rivaling any place on earth.

“Because of its isolation in the middle of the Pacific and its volcanic geology, Hawaii is a paradise for studying evolutionary biology, extinction, endangered species and conservation,” Rob Pacheco said. “It is a place where the fundamental lessons of creation and earth sciences can be seen, experienced and understood.”

Pacheco, who had worked as a naturalist on the U.S. mainland, recognized that most residents and visitors were seeing Hawaii’s beautiful scenery yet they were coming and going with little knowledge of Hawaii’s natural history.

He decided to combine his passion with a vision: to share Hawaii’s natural history with others and to help conserve Hawaii’s endangered environment through education. This vision fit well with the growing worldwide interest in eco-tourism.

Soon thereafter the idea for Hawaii Forest & Trail was born.

Now, 20 years later, Hawaii Forest & Trail remains one of only a few tour companies allowed access to private lands and wildlife refuges.

Additionally, Hawaii Forest & Trail is renowned for their knowledgeable and qualified guides with strong academic backgrounds in biology, geology, Hawaiian history and extensive natural field experience.

From their initial rainforest bird walk, the Pachecos have expanded eco-adventure offerings to include Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, stargazing from Mauna Kea, a waterfall walk and specialized birding tours. In 2011 the Pachecos founded Kohala Zipline based in North Kohala, the first tree-to-tree on Hawaii Island.

The company strongly believes that “conservation begins with education.” They sponsor free field trips for island students and they participate in tree plantings and other community service and volunteer work-day projects throughout the year.

To celebrate its 20th year Hawaii Forest & Trail is launching a community program, E Hoomaluo, translated to “Conserve Our Natural Resources.”

A committee of Hawaii Forest & Trail employees met and recommended a list of on-island 501(c)3 non-profits most aligned with Hawaii Forest & Trail’s mission and values. Hawaii Forest & Trail will partner with these organizations in the coming year by way of fundraising, tours, volunteer work days or what might best benefit the non-profit organization.

The partners included this year are: Bishop Museum; North Kohala Community Resource Center; Nature Conservancy; Friends of Hakalau; Hawaii Wildlife Center; West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery; Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative; Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Kohala Center, Kohala Watershed Partnership and the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center (affiliated with the San Diego Zoo).

“We began our company with the vision and commitment of giving back, and we wanted to do something special to celebrate our 20th year,” Rob Pacheco said. “E Hoomaluo speaks perfectly to our mission. Our 77 employees are on board and excited about the opportunity to contribute through these organizations and do so in a targeted, meaningful, and personal way.”

On May 18, Bishop Museum becomes the first E Hoomaluo partner. Bishop Museum has chosen to offer its members the opportunity to participate in a Hawaii Forest & Trail Bird Watching Adventure to Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge.

Members will be joined by Bishop Museum research staff. Sign-ups are being handled by Bishop Museum for the 23 seats aboard two of Hawaii Forest & Trail’s specialized vehicles.

“The mystique of Hawaii, the essence of this place, a place that millions of people from all over the world love to visit, is found in the life of the land,” Rob Pacheco said. “Even after 20 years, each day I am out in the field, Hawaii reveals a little more of herself to me; an experience I love to share with others. These encounters affect people in profound ways. We are grateful to have the opportunity to share our enthusiasm for nature and conservation with others through our tours and now through E Hoomaluo.”

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