Our Commitment to Sustainable Tourism
As a locally-owned tour operator, we understand that the preservation of our treasured natural resources is in our best interest. As residents we seek to ensure that Hawaii’s incredible natural heritage remains intact to be enjoyed by our children and by generations to come. We define sustainable tourism as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Our guided nature adventures are designed with these principles in mind and strive to preserve, maintain, and enhance our island home.
Hawaii Forest & Trail is recognized at the local, state and international levels as a leader in sustainable tourism. We are members of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s Kuleana Program, recognizing organizations on the Big Island with a solid committment to maintaining a healthy triple bottom line (people, planet, profit). Hawaii Forest & Trail is also a member of the Hawaii Ecotourism Association and was recognized in 2006 as the Ecotour Operator of the Year, and again in 2010 as a certified Ecotour Operator. In 2009, we were named to ISLANDS Magazine’s Blue List and recommended as the best in sustainable travel. Hawaii Forest & Trail understands that both residents and visitors benefit from sustainable tourism so we volunteer our time at the local and state levels to develop standards and best practices for such organizations as the Hawaii Ecotourism Assocation and the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources.
In addition to sharing the incredible natural and cultural heritage of Hawai’i with guests, our tours:
- Minimally impact the local environment. Where possible, we incorporate voluntourism into our experiences to create opportunities for guests to give back.
- Minimize the use of resources and reduce waste generation.
- Preference is given to re-useable or recycled items and waste generated from tours is sorted to ensure local landfills are minimally impacted.
- Fulfill resource use guidelines. We work closely with local resource managers and landowners to ensure that our tours are operated within established land-use parameters.
Additionally, Hawaii Forest & Trail donates to and partners with local organizations focused on such areas as native species preservation, ecosystem restoration, and youth in nature programs. Partner organizations in 2013 included the North Kohala Community Resource Center, Bishop Museum, and KTA Superstore’s Kokua I Na Kula Program.
About World Heritage sites
World Heritage sites are places around the world that have been internationally recognized for their outstanding value as natural and cultural treasures. Sites currently on the World Heritage list include Independence Hall, Stonehenge, the Galapagos Islands, the wildlife reserves of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Great Wall of China. There are currently 878 World Heritage sites (679 cultural, 174 and 25 mixed properties) in 145 countries. All sites are protected by the 1972 World Heritage Convention, signed to date by 185 countries and administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is Hawaii’s first World Heritage site and was inscribed in 1987. whc.unesco.org