The Kanepuu Preserve is a 590-acre nature preserve located on the northwestern plateau of Lanai Island, Hawaii. It is just six miles northwest of Lanai City and not far from Keahiakawelo, also known as the Garden of the Gods.
The preserve is considered as one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems and contains a dryland forest environment, the largest of its kind in Hawaii. It features more than 45 native plant species, including very rare species that grow in no other ecosystem such as the nau, an endangered Hawaiian gardenia.
Many of the plants and trees in Kanepuu Preserve have played important roles in Hawaiian culture for centuries such as the aiea, a rare tree whose timber was used for building canoes, and the lama, an ebony tree whose name was derived from the Hawaiian word for light and was used to build sacred fences, temples and offerings to Laka, the goddess of hula. Other noteworthy plants are the olopua (native olive tree) and mau hau hele (local hibiscus),
The park can be navigated via a short loop trail with illustrated signs by local artist Wendell Kahoohalahala, describing the tough challenges that lay in store for this living natural treasures. Nearby is the Kane Puu, a sacred hill dedicated to the Hawaiian god of water and vegetation.
Self-guiding maps are available at the entrance to the preserve but guided tours are also available for large groups offered by the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii.