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Hawaii Travel --> Islands --> Oahu --> Attractions --> North --> Waimea Valley --> History of the Waimea Valley

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History of the Waimea Valley
Oahu, Hawaii

The history of the Waimea Valley on the north shore of the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

In January of 2007 it was announced that the Audubon Society had pulled out of negotiations with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) over the awarding of a long term lease to continue managing the Waimea Valley. One of the conditions the Audubon Society would not agree to was that the OHA would have hiring and firing authority over the park's director. The Audubon Society's lease was scheduled to expire in late 2007 or early 2008 so that gave the OHA about a year to arrange for new management of the valley. The Waimea Valley Audubon Society employed about 40 people and had a volunteer staff of about 500.

The last private owner of Waimea Valley lands, Christian Wolffer, agreed to accept $14 million from a partnership of five government agencies and non-profit groups and the OHA became the legal owner of the valley.

A hearing was held on Wednesday, December 7, 2005 at the Honolulu Hale at 2:00 pm, so the Honolulu City Council could vote on whether or not to accept a settlement with a land developer that would subdivide the Waimea valley and split it between the developer and the city. Under the agreement, the mountain section of the Waimea valley could be used for building luxury estates and for the development of an "eco resort". The city council had previously been 5 for and 4 against in a vote but at the December meeting they voted 9-0 in favor of having an open trail.

In July of 2003 the National Audubon Society assumed management of the Waimea Valley and they opened the Waimea Valley Audubon Center within the valley. The City and County of Honolulu leased Waimea Valley land to the Audubon Society and they also awarded them a $500,000 grant to fund a cultural and archaeological survey of the valley. For more information see the Audubon Society Waimea Valley Proposal. Earlier in 2003 the City and County of Honolulu began condemnation proceedings against Christian Wolffer, the last private land owner of the Waimea Valley lands.

The city and county of Honolulu took possession of the Waimea Valley land, depositing $5.1 million in escrow with the courts to begin condemnation proceedings.

When Christian Wolffer got no offers on buying Waimea Falls Park and Sea Life Park, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to prevent the bank from foreclosing on the parks. The City and County of Honolulu attempted to exercise eminent domain by condemning the property and offering to buy it for $5.2 million.

Christian Wolffer put the valley land up for sale for $25 million. Later he dropped the price to $19 million.

German-born investor Christian Wolffer assumed a majority ownership of Waimea Falls Park and Sea Life Park by assuming a $12 million mortgage previously owned by a member of the Pietsch family. He envisioned building 120 cabins on the valley floor along with a wellness center and an aerial tram. He renamed the park "Waimea Valley Adventure Park" and started offering adventure activities such as all-terrain vehicle rides, paintball, mountain biking, cliff diving, horseback riding, and other adventure sports. Many north shore residents felt these activities in the park violated one of Hawaii's most sacred and culturally significant areas.

Waimea Valley Park opened to the public in 1974. That same year the Bishop Museum conducted a survey and review of cultural and archaeological sites in the valley.

The Bishop Corporation purchased land in the Waimea Valley for $355,000 and established Waimea Falls Park.

The Mahele ended that control

Castle and Cooke purchased the land in Waimea Canyon and leased it to cattle ranchers.

A flood destroyed the homes and crops of 1000 Hawaiians living in the valley.

King Kamehameha, who at the time was chief of Oahu, Maui, and the Big island, gave control of the Waimea Valley to Hewahewa, his top kahuna nui

See also:
- Introduction to the Waimea Valley
- Other North Oahu Attractions
- All Attractions on Oahu
- Activities on Oahu

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