Visitors Take Eco-Tour to Help Preserve Hawaii's Rainforest

Rob Pacheco
Rob Pacheco
Stedman Ng
Stedman Ng

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK (KHNL) -- Hawaii's biggest draw is its natural beauty. It brings in millions of visitors to enjoy the sun, surf and scenic sights.

But on the Big Island, many guests are drawn to a different kind of adventure. One that helps the environment while providing a rare experience.

The sounds that fill a remote rainforest on a Big Island volcano Are the same heard here centuries ago.

Nearby, the elements battle.

Unrelenting waters sizzle and steam as hot lava pours into the ocean.

But this is not the only struggle in nature.

"Today, there's a real life battle going on, too," said Rob Pacheco of Hawaii Forest & Trail. "Between the non-native world that has been brought here and the native world that is struggling for existence."

But people are joining in this fight by taking part in a most unusual tour.

And now the sounds of footsteps also fill the rainforest.

"This stuff is bad because it creates matting on the forest floor," said Pacheco.

These visitors, with smiles on their faces, attack this alien species.

Having paid for the chance to get rid of unwanted ginger.

After their exhausting work is done, the ground is cleared and their spirits lifted.

"You can sit there and say I feel bad people are destroying the natural environment but when you are digging stuff up, you are doing your part," said Stedman Ng, a Los Angeles resident. "And hopefully other people will do the same thing and are encouraged to do the same thing. That's a great feeling."

Hawaii forest and trail has tapped into the desire of visitors to get more than just a tour of natural sights. But to make a real connection with the land.

"To have people pull them up out of the ground and smell the dirt and roots as they clip them, its something they'll never forget," said Pacheco.

This Big Island company have been honored with awards for taking visitors off the beaten path. But it is what visitors take home that really counts.

"We have this passion about Hawaii and we want people to feel that passion and take that home with them," Pacheco said.

Along with the rainforest tour in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, there are also tours that take visitors to remote locations to see waterfalls or rare birds and even a stargazing tour to the top of Mauna Kea.

All meant to showcase the natural and evolutionary history of Hawaii.