Honolulu (KHON2) – Friends of Hoʻokena is a local organization dedicated to educating Hawaiʻi Island visitors on the history and importance Hoʻokena Beach Park holds. 

Located on lands once owned by family descendants, Hoʻokena Beach Park holds special meaning to Hawaiʻi island community members, who still practice traditional ways.

“When creating KUPA Friends of Hoʻokena Beach Park the families were able to regain co-management of these important lands through a non-profit MOU with the County of Hawaiʻi . As early as 2007 the community prepared for the eventual popularity of the Park as a tourist destination and formed the non-profit as a platform where the community is able to guide policies for Park usage from a cultural perspective,” says Charles Young, Member KUPA Friends of Hoʻokena Beach Park.

According to Young, Hoʻokena has seen changes in popularity due to social media.

Young says, “Our experience has been that visitors to Hoʻokena are looking for alternatives to a hotel experience. They prefer something more natural and more low key. Generally they leave a smaller footprint and are very interested in the history and culture of Hawaiʻi . They are also low budget and not necessarily looking for the best places to dine or dance.”

While the Hoʻokena Beach Park is seeing a spike in tourism, Young and his team are dedicated to educating visitors about  its history. 

“Friends of Hoʻokena Beach Park co-manages the park with a primary responsibility for all camping activities. This includes collecting fees and ensuring safety and health requirements for the park are met. KUPA also has initiated programs for education and outreach to beachgoers on the history and culture of the place. Also in managing the area, KUPA purposely reserves time for residents to utilize the natural resources and generally enjoy their homeland. Maintaining the Park’s cultural significance is paramount for KUPA,” says Young.

Those looking to join Friends of Hoʻokena and its effort to preserve Hoʻokena Beach Park can visit the organization’s official website. 

KUPA Friends of Hoʻokena Beach Park:

www.hookena.org