Description - Two tragedies occurred on the Kalaupapa Peninsula on the north shore of the island of Moloka`i; the first was the removal of indigenous people in 1865 and 1895, the second was the forced isolation of sick people to this remote place from 1866 until 1969. The removal of Hawaiians from where they had lived for 900 years cut the cultural ties and associations of generations of people with the `aina (land). The establishment of an isolation settlement, first at Kalawao and then at Kalaupapa, tore apart Hawaiian society as the kingdom, and subsequently, the territory of Hawai`i tried to control a feared disease. The impact of broken connections with the `aina and of family members "lost" to Kalaupapa are still felt in Hawai`i today.
Copyright: National Park Service
Kalaupapa National Historic Park
- Kalaupapa National Historical Park contains the physical setting for these stories of isolation.
This park contains the site of the Molokai Island Hansen's disease (leprosy) settlement (1886-1969), areas relating to early Hawaiian settlement, scenic and geologic resources and habitats for rare and endangered species. There are 8,725 acres of land and 2,000 acres of water within the park's boundary. The community of Kalaupapa, on the leeward side of Kalaupapa Peninsula, is still home for many surviving Hansen's disease patients, whose memories and experiences are cherished. In Kalawao on the windward side of the peninsula are the churches of Siloama, established in 1866, and Saint Philomena, associated with the work of Father Damien (Joseph De Veuster).
The park contains the Kalaupapa Peninsula, adjacent cliffs and valleys, and submerged lands and waters out to 1/4 mile from shore. Hawaiian people inhabited the peninsula and valleys for hundreds of years prior to the establishment of the isolation settlement at Kalawao in 1866. Evidence of this occupation in four ahupua'a (historic Hawaiian land divisions) on the peninsula and in valleys is relatively undisturbed and represents one of the richest archeological preserves in Hawai'i.
The Moloka`i Lighthouse is another attraction within the park, opened in 1909. It stands on the northern tip of the peninsula and is the tallest U.S. lighthouse in the Pacific Ocean. It guides ocean vessels past Moloka`i and into Honolulu Harbor on O`ahu.
Spectacular north shore sea cliffs, narrow valleys, a volcanic crater, rain forest, lava tubes and caves, and offshore islands and waters are in the national park. Several of these areas provide rare native habitat for threatened or endangered Hawaiian plants and animals. For example, Hawaiian monk seal pups have been born on Kalaupapa's beaches. These endangered mammals require solitude; Kalaupapa's physical isolation provides perfect habitat to support these births and subsequent care.
Recreation - Kalaupapa National Historical Park is administered in cooperation with several Hawai`i state agencies. All visitors to the park must receive a permit from the Department of Health to enter the Kalaupapa settlement. The commercial tour company arranges the permit for their customers. Guests of residents have their permits arranged by their sponsor.
Reservations are required for commercial tours of the settlement, mule rides on the trail, and air flights. Visitors are encouraged to make these reservations in advance. Available opportunities are different for visitors on a commercial tour and for guests of residents.
Climate - Hawai'i enjoys moderate temperatures year-round. Rain increases in winter; some summer days are hot and humid. Trade winds are fairly constant. Temperatures range from the 70s in winter to the 90s in the summer. A rain jacket is recommended, as is a brimmed hat and sunscreen. Visitors who hike the trail should carry plenty of water.
The park is on the north shore of the island of Molokai'i in Hawai'i.