Who Are We And Does It Matter To You?

Who Are We And Does It Matter To You?

Aloha and hello, and welcome to our first blog. Who are we? Are we interesting? What do we do? Does it matter to you? Well, this is what we say on our website: Who We Are HPPA is a nonprofit cooperating association working in partnership with the National Park Service in Hawaiʻi and American Samoa. Proceeds from our park stores support interpretation, educational programs, research projects, publications, and cultural activities But...what does that mean?

Let’s look back.

In 1916, Hawaii National Park was born. It included Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes on Hawaiʻi Island (The Big Island), and Haleakalā Volcano on Maui. This was a pivotal year, because the National Park Service was also established, with 11 national parks (and now 12) already created. It quickly became obvious that visitors to the new jewels in the national crown had needs. They wanted maps and guidebooks. They were passionate about learning the names of plants and animals and wanted references. They were embarking on day trips and wanted supplies. In 1920, Yosemite National Park partnered with the brand new Yosemite Museum Association, and the nonprofit Association model was born to meet those wants and needs in what would come to be called a visitor center “bookstore”. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, park headquarters, museums, overlooks and roads were constructed in the two Hawaiʻi sections of the new park.

Hawaii National Park followed Yosemite in forming the Hawaii Natural History Association (HNHA) in 1933. In 1948 HNHA was formally designated at as a cooperating educational society. Bookstores were now a dependable part of a national parks visit. In 1961, the two parts of Hawaii National Park split into Hawaiʻi Volcanoes and Haleakalā National Parks. That year, HNHA gained a new partnership with the City of Refuge National Historical Park (now called Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park) and opened a park bookstore there, too. The 1970s brought Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site into the Association family, followed by Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park in the 1980s. The last member to join the Association family was the National Park of American Samoa, in 2000. Six national parks, one nonprofit association running visitor center bookstores in nine locations within the parks.

What does a nonprofit association do with its bookstore profits after costs and labor? This is the fun part: it funds programs and projects in need at the parks. We help to support endangered species projects at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. We jump in to help meet the needs of the ever-more popular Hawaiian cultural festivals held at the park sites on Hawaiʻi Island. The visitor center at the National Park of American Samoa needed displays, and we made sure they could have them. At Haleakalā, we helped to replace the backcountry mules needed for getting supplies to remote summit cabins. You can read up on the myriad programs and projects we supported in our Annual Reports on this website. In 2011, we decided to rebrand our name, look, and messaging. We wanted to equally represent our relationship with all six of our national park partners. Also, national parks stores were moving away from being purely bookstores, and changing with the times to meet the needs and interests of 21st-century park visitors. We, and they, had expanded way beyond books (although our selection of books curated for the parks is still a point of pride with us). After careful consideration, we emerged as Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association.

We will have more stories for you, parks updates, shopping updates, tips and behind-the-scenes peaks. Stay with us.

PS: a quick primer on our national parks support is here: https://www.hawaiipacificparks.org/connect/about-us



Hawaii Pacific Parks Association Location Map

Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association. P.O. Box 74 Hawaii National Park, 96718 HI