You don’t need to be an environmentalist to appreciate the value of leaving a small footprint on the places you visit. In fact, you’d be in line with the Native Hawaiian concept of “malama aina” or caring for the land.
On Maui, respect for the land is an integral a part of our local lifestyle, whether it’s dining on sustainable foods, preserving native plants and their many uses, or simply appreciating the gift that is our natural environment.
Take a drive to Upcountry Maui and you’ll find yourself in Kula strolling among sweet fields of lavender and vibrant protea. Or walk back in time through gardens of indigenous plants at the Kula Botanical Garden. Continue to the 30,000-foot summit of Haleakala and you just might meet our state bird, the endangered nene (Hawaiian goose), or stumble across a Haleakala silversword, a rare and beautiful succulent that shimmers in the early light.
At the Iao Needle State Park in Central Maui, the mist descends upon the “needle” giving the historical site an almost mystical feeling, while the adjacent Nature Center offers an easy rainforest hike and a chance to learn about life in ancient Hawaii.
And at the heart, or should we stay the stomach, of Maui’s sustainability efforts are the many island farms and ranches that produce the farm-to-table ingredients that grace our Hawaii Regional Cuisine. From chocolate to goat cheese to mountain-grown coffee, it’s a gourmet’s delight.
Where do you start? Maui offers many farm tours, as well as beaches, whale-watching and other activities. Or simply, take the road less traveled and see what you find.