Townscape worked with Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) planners, DHHL beneficiaries and kamaʻāina and kūpuna connected to Kaʻū to develop a resources management plan to guide future actions to steward the land and resources at South Point—or more commonly referred to as Ka Lae by local people. Townscape’s work contributing to this project included extensive community outreach with DHHL beneficiaries, community members, and government agencies. Community consultation process included a series of “talk story” sessions, community meetings, and an interactive community SpeakOut event.
Moʻolelo shared by kūpuna depict South Point as a place of remarkable beauty and great cultural significance. It is believed that Ka Lae is the site where Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands first arrived in Hawaiʻi. Sadly, however, over the years South Point has been desecrated and exploited by off-road vehicle enthusiasts, thoughtless actions of visitors, and sports fishermen despite the presence of iwi kūpuna and sacred sites. Unrestricted vehicular access has resulted in miles of deep, wide, and extremely severe erosion scars, ranging from several feet to over eight feet in depth. There are no bathroom facilities for the hundreds of people who visit South Point daily – to visit Green Sand Beach (or Mahana Bay) and to go cliff diving.
Townscape completed the Resources Management Plan in October 2016 and Environmental Assessment was completed in 2018 for the Resources Management Plan.