Maui ranch agrees to historic land deal - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui ranch agrees to historic land deal

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Sumner Erdman Sumner Erdman
Dale Bonar Dale Bonar

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

Ulupalakua, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The green rolling hills stretch across the leeward slopes of Haleakala as far as the eye can see.

Ulupalakua Ranch is the second biggest cattle ranch on Maui and a partner in a history-making move.

"Nothing this large has been done before, especially on a private level," ranch president Sumner Erdman said.

The Erdman's, owners of the ranch, have reached a preservation agreement with Maui Coastal Land Trust.

"This is our mission -- to help land owners protect and preserve those special places of conservation areas or values that are of benefit to the greater public," Maui Coastal's executive director Dale Bonar said.

The land agreement means 12,000 acres on the ranch will always be a working cattle ranch for livestock grazing and farming.

There's a general store and a winery.

The Erdman's are also environmentalists.

"They are an active partner in the leeward Haleakala watershed partnership which is doing restoration of a lot of that upcountry area, replanting Koa, replanting Ohia, and other native species," Bonar said.

By forging the agreement the ranch forfeits rights to sell off hundreds of parcels of land.

The owner says it's for the greater good.

"It's an absolutely beautiful place, one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to, and we really want to keep it that way," Erdman said.

The Erdman family has owned Ulupalakua Ranch since 1963.

The agreement with Maui Coastal Land Trust safeguards their operation and guarantees the green rolling hills stay that way.

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