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Preserving Paradise: The Maui Coastal Land Trust

By Staff | Jun 17, 2010

Bob and Tess Cartwright have supported the “Buy Back the Beach” fund-raiser at Old Lahaina Luau since its inception.

Sitting on the couch with my three-year-old son, we are watching James Cameron’s hit new release, “Avatar.” The scene shows large machinery destroying a sacred tree that the people of this mythical planet live in, to get to a substance worth millions of dollars per ounce that lies below the tree. I look over and tears are falling down his face.

With eyes wide open, he said, “Mommy, we have to protect our planet.” Pretty insightful for a three-year-old.

This scenario is similar to our life on Maui. Paradise is valued at a very high premium. The basic principles of appreciating, connecting to and preserving what we have are something everyone, especially those that live on and/or love Maui, should understand and practice. One organization has been working toward this since 2000: The Maui Coastal Land Trust.

MCLT’s Mission Statement is: “To preserve and protect coastal lands in Maui Nui for the benefit of the natural environment and of current and future generations.” This nonprofit organization works to preserve and protect areas of environmental and historical significance, working WITH landowners to do so in a manner that is mutually beneficial.

MCLT may own land through purchase, donation or bequest, or hold conservation easements, where development and use regulations are put permanently into place on the land and ownership remains with the current title holder. The use of various avenues to protect these significant land sites encourages the community to work together, and offers private landowners of these significant land tracts to receive certain tax benefits while helping to keep Maui No Ka ‘Oi.

Currently, MCLT has successfully protected over 18,000 acres on Maui and Molokai and continues to promote their cause and acquire more land. If you have ever visited Ulupalakua Ranch, or been hiking in the breathtaking West Maui Mountains above Launiupoko, you have the MCLT to thank for protecting these delicate areas and making them accessible to residents and visitors of Maui to enjoy.

Bob and Tess Cartwright, owners of Whalers Realty, have been supporters of the MCLT since 2002. They have participated as a major sponsor of the annual “Buy Back the Beach” benefit luau since its inception.

The Cartwrights’ love and respect for Maui pours over into their support for this very important nonprofit organization. As leaders of one of Maui’s leading real estate companies on Maui, Bob and Tess understand the rarity and importance of the land that the MCLT seeks to protect. Over the years, Whalers Realty has represented many newly built communities and has successfully encouraged developers to build under the maximum allowable density, thereby reducing the footprint that growth and building creates.

Bob said, “The Maui Coastal Land Trust is an organization that deserves support from all the residents of Maui. Supporting MCLT is living up to the Hawaiian practice where you keep in mind that, with every decision you make in your life, you are always thinking of how it will affect the children that will be born seven generations from now.”

In the words of my three-year-old son, “We have to protect our (island).”

To learn more about the Maui Coastal Land Trust and what they do, or to get involved through volunteering or a donation, visit their website at www.mauicoastallandtrust.org.

Whalers Realty may be contacted at 1-800-367-5632, on their website at www.whalersrealty.com, or at one of their offices in Kaanapali: Whalers Village (2435 Kaanapali Parkway, Suite A3) or the Fairway Shops (2580 Kekaa Drive, Suite 118).