The History of the ʻĀina (Land)
Ua Mau Ka Ea O Ka ʻĀina I Ka Pono
The History of the ʻĀina (Land)
It All Started With…
Cows, Gates, and Guavas
Fresh Water Pools
Dangerous Parking Lots and
A good idea…
In The Beginning…
The story starts with a 4th generation Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) who lives in Makawao on the island of Maui. His great-grandfather settled close to Maliko Bay circa the early 1800’s. His grandfather and grandmother moved the family East to find land and life in Huelo. The property, popularly known now as Twin Falls, was originally a 100-acre parcel sold to his grandparents by another family. The descendants of this family are still living in Huelo today. Decades ago, the property extended down towards the ocean, across what is now State Highway 36. State Highway 36 did not exist at that time. It was under construction before World War II, stalled throughout the war, and was finished in the late 40’s early 50’s. The old road to Hana was below this parcel on Ulalena Road. This land was used for raising cattle. His grandfather sold the property to his brother and his brother’s wife. Due to a tragic accident, his uncle passed away leaving the land to his wife. After a period of time, she sold the property to two gentlemen. Time went by.
In 1955, our Paniolo, who is the subject of our story, approached the two gentlemen and asked to raise cattle again on the property. He paid as rent the land tax which was and until recently still was about $180/year. In the mid-1990’s the two gentlemen approached and told him that for liability concerns there were going to sell the property. Wailele Farm came into existence in 1996, after purchasing the property, and the rest is modern history…For many years residents and then adventurous visitors to the island have enjoyed coming to the water to cool off and enjoy nature. We are proud to say that this basic human right is still available here at Twin Falls without the burden of a cost or price associated with access.
During the Early Years
Let me first introduce the entry of the cast of characters that began on the Twin Falls – Wailele Farm stage. For online publishing purposes, names have been changed. Lisa and her husband Andrew arranged the negotiations and proceedings with the two gentlemen, that began to solidify the acquisition of the land. To make this happen they began recruiting willing participants. This was a crucial moment because all of the people chosen would need to fit and work well with the vision that was being created. Those first few recruitments went by the names of Theodore, Kayla, and Dale and Sunny. Thumbs went up as well as temperature and blood pressure as they began discussing options, logistics, and agreements.
In the fall of 1996, the group moved onto the property and established three individual shareholder zones. Wailele Farm, Inc., was created as a farming corporation acquiring full ownership over all 3 TMK parcels consisting of a total of 39 acres. This first group of 6 became shareholders and board members in the corporation. The road was muddy and long in those days, still is metaphorical, although gravel was soon laid on the newly established farm road. A small fruit stand entered into the picture to watch and stand guard at the parking lot bordering State Highway 36. A few years into the play and George and Martha were added to the crew. Kayla dropped out of the picture leaving seven shareholders. Now that completes our beginning cast of characters. Collectively they sat down together and wrote out a list of agreements which they signed and committed to as a group. Years went by and homesites where established along with fruit trees, orchards, roads, and trails. Hike Maui, a company that was started and operated by an adventurous young man and his wife on Maui in the early 70’s struck a deal with Wailele Farm Inc. They began to take people on farm nature walks, showing people the plants and the waterfalls. Word spread and the popularity of the valley increased with visitors and residents alike. The parking lots began to fill up every day. The fruit stand at the start of the trail became a welcome site seven days a week, to hungry and thirsty travelers. Selling smoothies, banana bread, sugar cane juice, coconuts and a variety of fresh fruit, the Twin Falls Farm Stand became an instant hit.
Fast forward to 2015-2017 and only a few major changes were made in all those 20 some years. George and Martha dropped out to follow a different path in life and we are left with 5 stockholders of Wailele Farm Inc. A new company, Twin Falls Management LLC was born to manage the business operations. Children of the original stockholders, who were in their teens when Wailele Farm was created, are now managing the business and farming operations. The farm stand has changed shape numerous times over the years. Hike Maui is now a much larger company with over 20 employees. They currently are a well-respected company providing daily tours taking people on farm nature hikes at Twin Falls. The scenery for them has changed quite a bit over the years.
In the beginning, people visiting Twin Falls would park in the gravel parking lot adjacent to Hana Hwy and “jump the fence”. The pathway was a rutted Jeep trail winding its way through tall grass, guava trees, and cows. Very few trees except a small number of banyans and acacia species where present to give shade. The path was unkept and muddy and for many of us that remember those days fondly, the experience was raw and beautiful. As children, we use to run from the cows and from each other as rotten guavas picked up off the ground became the perfect ammunition to throw at each other. Between the rotten guavas and the mud, it was easy to make parents cringe when they saw us coming to get back to get into the car. Lucky for them, the river and the waterfalls were always there to clean us off. Cliff jumping became a way to show bravery and the regulars knew exactly where the good jumping spots were. Leaving a car in the parking lot was risky. Broken windows and stolen vehicles were common occurrences. Sometimes in those days you could walk around in the valley all day long and see fewer people than you could count on two hands. Times have changed.
Over the years we have acquired and planted over 350+ species of usable plants. The landscape has changed. What used to be tall grass is now mowed and weed-whacked. What used to be a rutted Jeep trail is now a graveled driveway. There are no cows anymore. They have been replaced with giant tropical bamboo, flowers, exotic fruit trees and more. Shade trees are everywhere. In fact, it feels good sometimes to find a spot that is sunny now. With the help of the sun, the abundance of rain and hardworking people, a cow pasture has been planted and transformed into a botanical preserve. The trail is now always filled with people. On slow days we estimate 300-500+ visitors a day. On a busy summer day, that number easily reaches 1500+. Now instead of throwing guavas, people search for lilikoi (passionfruit) and ice cream beans to eat, not to throw, of course. The parking lot is much safer now, although we do still, unfortunately, deal with the occasional car break-in and broken windows. The river and the waterfalls are still as good a place as it was back then; to clean and cool off. Access is still open and Wailele Farm Inc and Twin Falls Management LLC are committed to keeping free access open to the public as an inspiration or all. We thank you all for visiting and being part of history in the making!
We see a bright future. The valley, which is popularly known as Twin Falls has another name also. The valley is called Ho’olawa, which translates to “to provide, to share in abundance, to equip or make available so everyone has enough.” The Ko’olau rainforest, which feeds the two Ho’olawa streams running through our farm, is filled with fresh water year-round. On average there are 80-100 inches of rain per year in this rainforest. This freshwater provides ideal growing conditions for an abundance of plant life. Contained within this valley is all that is necessary for sustainability; fertile soil, fresh water, and sunlight.
In keeping with the meaning of Ho’olawa, Wailele Farm works hard to maintain the land and keep hiking paths open to the public. The farm stand is a stable and consistent part of the Twin Falls experience. Selling many locally grown and/or crafted items, we are proud to have been operating 7 days a week for 20+ years. That is over 7000+ full days of service providing fruit and beverage to satisfied customers. Our employee base is strong and happy. The majority have been with us for over 5 years and a few are reaching the 15-year mark soon. Utilizing this stable base, we plan to only get better at managing Twin Falls Maui. We have begun to look at expanding more into community benefits and services. Specifically, we are very interested to work with schools and youth groups to be a location that children can come to visit and learn. We have the ability to show examples of ecosystems (river and land). We can start the conversation about the importance of design, planning and thoughtful use of the area. We can show the abundance that comes when food-bearing trees get planted in the right locations. We can show how much abundance a small area can produce and tie back to the meaning of Ho’olawa in the process.
Culture is important in Hawaii. History is important in Hawaii. Planning ahead is important to ensure the quality of life and safety for future generations. It is important to be connected to what we eat. The reality of living on an island thousands of miles away from large land masses is real and could become scary if ships stopped bringing supplies. According to some, Hawaii is dependent on ships or planes to bring nearly 90% of the food that is eaten every day by more than 1.4 million resident and 8 million annual visitors to the island chain. It is a good thing to realize how vulnerable we are and start taking steps to change that.
It is important for us to share this information. We want people like you to realize what Twin Falls Maui is now, was before, and hopefully will become.
Many people believe we are a state-run park. We are not. We receive no funding from the county or state to manage this area. Our funding comes from the Twin Falls Farm Stand and income from our business relationship with Hike Maui. We also very much appreciate donations from visitors. We have donation boxes on the property and it is easy to donate online also. We use donations to pay for portable toilets, trail maintenance, and general maintenance. We use income generated to invest in plants and fruit trees that create beauty and abundance lasting for generations. We hope to have a non-profit “Friends of Twin Falls” that contributors can give tax-deductible donations to help us support community involvement, such as school field trips and educational workshops. We are constantly on watch to keep our visitors as safe as possible.
Being a natural semi-wild area with a river, we are vigilant with water safety. Flash floods are common. If we close the trails, it is for safety reasons. Other than that we are open to visitors 365 days a year. We thank you for your support! Please share this information and interact with us on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We hope you like our website and look forward to seeing you soon at our farm stand or out for a hike.