Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge


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Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge»

After visiting the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, we continued our tour of Kauai’s North Shore. We stopped at the Hanalei Valley Overlook on Kuhio Highway to see the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge.


This a quick stop…just the view to take in and some interpretive displays about the refuge and the waterbirds it protects. A visitor center is in the planning stages, close to the existing overlook. The refuge wetlands are closed to the public.


Hanalei NWR was established in 1972 to protect the Hawaiian Duck, Hawaiian Stilt, Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Common Moorhen and the Nene. The largest population of Hawaiian Ducks or Koloa are found here. All five birds are on the endangered species list. This wildlife refuge is one of several in Hawaii seeking to reclaim the wetland habitats and taro ponds from the now defunct sugar cane industry.


The US Fish and Wildlife Service allows farmers to grow Taro in the valley by special permit. Taro root is the basis for Poi, a traditional side dish served at luaus, and was an important staple for ancient Hawaiians. It has been harvested in Hanalei for over 1000 years and the fields provide a desirable habitat for some of the waterbirds.


Kauai Posts:


Location: Kapaʻa, HI 96746

Designation: National Wildlife Refuge

Date designated/established: November 30, 1972

Date of my visit: April 18, 2019