The Maui Coastal Land Trust (MCLT) is a nonprofit organization that has been responsible for protecting more than 14,000 acres of land in Maui County from future development. Established in November 2000, the MCLT's primary focus is on the 277-acre Waihe'e wetland and coastal dune refuge located on the north coast of Maui. Recently, the MCLT merged with three other Hawaiian land trusts to form the Hawaii Islands Land Trust (HILT), a single entity with a mission to protect public and private lands across the state. Land trusts are responsible for working with state and private entities, raising funds, and managing land protections.
They may also purchase land themselves to allow public access. The MCLT is no exception, having successfully protected more than 17,000 acres at 20 different sites. Project director Scott Fisher, land manager James Crowe, and educational coordinator Denby Freeland-Cole often bring volunteers and schoolchildren to visit the sites and learn about conservation. The MCLT also offers virtual tours of the Waiheʻe coastal dune and wetland refuge created by Maui Huliau students.
The MCLT's efforts are invaluable in preserving Maui's natural environment for current and future generations. By forming a unified front with other Hawaiian land trusts, they are able to ensure that this rich cultural site remains protected from development and open to public access. The MCLT's mission is an inspiring example of how local organizations can make a difference in protecting our planet for future generations.