A New Leaf is Turned at Camp Palehua above Makakilo


By Deborah Sharkey


The camp with an 85 year history now has a new story and name

(Kapolei – 2/19/16) Since the 1930s local families have enjoyed the views and mountain air at Camp Timberline in the hills above Makakilo.  Now, Gill ‘Ewa Lands LLC (GEL) and Camp Timberline LLC are writing the next chapter in the historic camp’s story.  The camp has been refurbished, repaired, and repurposed to become a center for cultural, conservation and science learning.

To recognize the new direction, the camp is getting a new name.  On Sunday, Feb. 28, a rededication ceremony and open house will be held to officially rename the camp as Camp Palehua.  The open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will feature tours of the camp, hikes in the adjacent forest, a tour of the Pa archeological site and makahiki games.  Light refreshments will be provided.  Since parking is limited, RSVP is requested to reserve spaces for this unique event.  Please email your reservation to timberlineoahu@gmail.com.

After two decades of management, Kama’aina Kids returned the facility to the landowner.  “We were sorry to see them go,” said Gary Gill, a member of the GEL management committee, “but we are committed to build on 85 years of history and make the camp experience better than ever.”

Camp_Palehua_Cabins1“Nowhere else on O’ahu provides such easy access to native plants and endangered species, historic cultural sites, and conservation activities.” said the new camp director, Michael Hayes, PhD.  “We will provide the highest quality educational experience to our visitors with programs that focus on place-based education and Hawaiian cultural practices.”

Programs will be offered in partnership with local environmental education organization, Malama Learning Center, which has served the West and Leeward O’ahu community for more than 10 years.  Pauline Sato, executive director of the Malama Learning Center, said, “We are excited to now base our operations at Camp Palehua.  Our programs will become even stronger with a home on the mountain.”

“The camp is ready to host up to 130 people at a time for overnight stays. Hiking, camping, swimming, gardening, native forest restoration, and Hawaiian cultural events are just a few of the activities available for the public at Camp Palehua,” said Hayes.

Punahou School has been bringing 6th graders to the camp for more than 40 years, and this year is no exception.  The youngsters recently enjoyed the hikes, historic sites and recreational activities at camp.  “The camp is looking better than ever,” said Andy Nelson, director of outdoor education at Punahou.  “Our students love getting out into the woods and learning about the natural environment.  Camp Timberline is a school tradition reaching back generations, and we are so pleased that we can continue to come here.”