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The land of Keahiakawelo was once home to a lowland forest. But grazing animals introduced in modern times, such as goat and deer, and wind erosion took their toll, creating the stark terrain found there today.
A National Historic Landmark, the fishing village of Kaunolu was frequented by King Kamehameha the Great, who enjoyed its fishing grounds. The stone remains of his royal house can still be seen on a bluff overlooking the bay. On an easy mile-long trail along the coast, hikers can see heiau (temples), petroglyphs and other historic structures left by residents who lived in Kaunolu until the 1880s. Interpretive signs can be found at sites along the trail, encouraging visitors to learn the significance of this place without disturbing these important cultural legacies.
Before Lanai became a pineapple plantation in 1922, it had a sugar plantation headquartered at Keomoku, on the island’s northeast side, from 1899 to 1901. The Maunalei Sugar Co. didn’t last long, but the nearly 800 laborers who helped with the operation came together to create a community with a church, a schoolhouse and an outdoor bread oven and mill. A marked trail through the remains of the abandoned town guides visitors curious to learn about life over a century ago in this isolated location. They are asked to tread lightly, however, as two ancient Hawaiian fishponds and many heiau can be found in the area.