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Untouched Hawaii: 4 little-known natural wonders of the Islands preserved forever


Moomomi Preserve, Molokai

Moloka‘i’s Moomomi Preserve is the most complete coastal and sand dune ecosystem in Hawaii. Powerful trade winds have shaped the area for centuries, creating dunes a mile long and hundreds of feet wide. Moomomi’s salt-sprayed, wind-whipped environs seem harsh, but the area teems with coastal life.

More than 20 native Hawaiian plant species, including endangered plants, such as akoko and ena ena, thrive at Moomomi. Fossils show at least 30 different bird species have nested at Moomomi, one-third of which are extinct—including a sea eagle, falconing owl and giant flightless duck.

What’s being done?

As Hawaii’s native beaches are gradually lost to coastal development, the Conservancy tirelessly safeguards the area and its flora and fauna. The beach is an important nesting ground for the honu (green sea turtle) and a growing colony of wedge-tailed shearwaters. With the increased protection, the group hopes former Moomomi tenants, such as the Hawaiian monk seal and Laysan albatross, will settle along Moomomi’s sands once more.

How can I visit?

Moomomi Preserve sits on private, gated land. The gate key to the preserve is available through the Conservancy’s Molokai office with a $25 deposit. Guided tours are also available monthly for a $25 fee. For more information, call (808) 553-5236, or e-mail hike_molokai@tnc.org.

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