Protecting a Forest, Preserving a Culture
It takes 125 years or more to grow a koa log large enough for a canoe, which generally needs to be 35 to 45 feet long with a diameter of 48 inches or more (voyaging canoes require larger logs.) That period may be shortened if specific koa logs are identified for canoes now, and forestry prescriptions (e.g. thinning, pruning) are applied to favor the growth of those trees for canoe logs.
In 2004, DLNR initiated the formal designation of the Kapapala Koa Canoe Forest Management Area on land set-aside in 1989, near the Volcano National Park, in Kaʻū, on the Big Island. Here, koa trees grow tall and straight – necessary traits for core material in canoe shaping. It was the first Forest Management Area specifically designated for nurturing and harvesting koa canoe logs.