I recently met up with my sponsored “One Percent for the Planet” recipient East Maui Watershed Partnership (EMWP) at their home office on Maui. There, I connected with EMWP community Outreach and Education Liaison, Allison Wiest. She took me on a hike, called the Boardwalk Hike, a one-hour drive just below the top of Haleakala Volcano.
The hike was about three miles with a 600-foot elevation change. The hike started in a non-native forest and ended up in a 100 percent native Hawaiian forest. The purpose of these organized guided hikes, are to educate people on Maui’s endemic species and the importance of the watershed.
When we started the hike, we saw many non-native Mexican weeping pines and much different variety of cedar trees. As we approached the native Hawaiian rainforest, we saw Koa, flowering mamane, and ‘ohi’a trees. Some of the native birds, flying among these forests, are ‘i’iwi, ‘apapane and honeycreepers.
This dense forest keeps the ground below the canopy cool and damp. This creates a perfect environment for tongue ferns, peperomia and many varieties of flowers. The conditions are perfect for topsoil to stay put for many of these plants to thrive.
It was an amazing hike and I recommend the Boardwalk Hike if you are ever in East Maui.