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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 4, 2001

Audubon interest adds new life to Waimea

Now this is getting interesting.

Add to the list of those interested in buying, or at least getting involved in, the Waimea Falls Park the prestigious Audubon Society.

This adds weight to the hope that the park, and its world-class collection of endangered and exotic plants, may have a future.

The current owner, New York investor Christian Wolffer, has put the money-losing attraction up for sale.

Today, the park offers a combination of attractions, including the botanical collection, displays and exhibits of Hawaiiana and a variety of thrill rides and shows such as cliff diving.

Apparently the mix is not enough to generate profits.

One solution would be to move strongly in the direction of theme-park-style attractions, which might generate revenue but would inevitably squeeze out the cultural and environmental aspects of the park.

Among those interested in buying the park are the City and County of Honolulu, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and now — possibly — the Audubon Society. They each bring something attractive to the table.

The city might be able to buy the park to preserve it as a public recreational resource. OHA could be involved through support of the cultural aspects of the park, and the Audubon Society through support of the botanical program.

This could add up to a three-way win for the public.