Birders and nature lovers will find it easier to locate birds on Hawaii Island later this year thanks to the creation of the Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail (HICCBT).
The 90-mile trail will cross Hawaii Island from Kona on the west coast to Hilo on the east coast linking varied habitats from ocean to mountain top, from rainforest to lava plains. The trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a route that is a network of sites so users can join or leave the route at any point along the way. While birds will be the focal points, elements of Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and, of course, scenic view points, will be highlighted.
A team of Hawaii Island volunteers with knowledge of the island’s birdlife and natural history created the trail project. The team also includes travel industry marketing professionals, logistics experts, and interpretive planning specialists. A number of government and nonprofit organizations have expressed interest in the development of the trail and will be included in planning efforts as the volunteer team moves forward.
“Hawaii Island is a worldwide treasure combining both endemic species and introduced birdlife from five continents. We want to make sure people in Hawaii and around the world have the tools and accurate information to experience these wonders in a way that is safe, and culturally and environmentally appropriate,” said Hawaii Forest & Trail owner and HICCBT Steering Committee member Rob Pacheco.
To open the trail, HICCBT will host the inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds on September 24 and 25 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. The Hawaii Island Festival of Birds program will include expert guest speakers including The Nature Conservancy’s Dr. Sam Gon III, a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, a children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts and guided field trips on land and sea.
Festival sponsors include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Audubon Magazine, Hawaii Forest and Trail, Destination Marketing and others.
For more information log on to www.hawaiibirdingtrails.com.