Maui News

ʻUlupalakua Ranch Celebrates Half Century

June 26, 2013, 10:43 AM HST
* Updated June 26, 11:19 AM
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ʻUlupalakua Ranch. Photo by Wendy Osher.

ʻUlupalakua Ranch. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Erdman family celebrates 50 years of ownership of ʻUlupalakua Ranch, located on the leeward slopes of Haleakalā on Maui.

In recognition of the half century milestone, ranch owners will take a historic look back during the upcoming “ʻUlupalakua Inspires” event, taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., this Sunday, June 30.

Ranch owner, Pardee Erdman, who purchased the property in 1963, will be the featured speaker at a talk-story session during the event, which also features an afternoon of music, hula, historical displays, information booths, and wine tasting, an announcement said.

ʻUlupalakua Ranch store. Photo by Wendy Osher.

ʻUlupalakua Ranch store. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Other highlights reportedly include a paniolo (cowboy) barbecue with hulihuli beef and lamb; as well as a live slack-key performance featuring ʻUlupalakua native Jeff Peterson, and Nathan Aweau.

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Today, the ʻUlupalakua Ranch covers 18,000-acres, stretching from the south Maui shoreline at Auwahi to the 6,000-foot elevation of Haleakalā.

ʻUlupalakua Ranch, photo by Wendy Osher.

ʻUlupalakua Ranch. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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According to Ranch information, ʻUlupalakua’s past history included frequent visits by King David Kalākaua, former operation as a sugar plantation and mill, and in recent history, as a winery and ranching community.

Today, the ranch offers island-raised beef through the Maui Cattle Company, which is sold to local markets; and also hosts small-scale farming ventures.

In its most recent venture, the Erdmans dedicated acreage to the new Auwahi Wind Farm operated by Sempra US Gas & Power for the production of renewable energy.

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The eight wind turbines went online late last year, delivering enough energy to power 10,000 island homes.

ʻUlupalakua Ranch, cattle crossing. Photo by Wendy Osher.

ʻUlupalakua Ranch, cattle crossing. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“The Erdmans have been progressive environmentalists, active partners with The Nature Conservancy and Leeward Haleakalā Watershed Restoration Partnership, and patrons of successful reforestation projects at upper-slope acreage in Auwahi,” an event press release said.

“People think that cattle ranching is about raising cows,” said ranch president Sumner Erdman in the announcement.

“It’s really about land and pasture management. We focus a lot on the native flora and fauna because of the critical role they play in the water and mineral cycles of the land,” he said.

***Supporting information courtesy Yuki lei Sugimura.

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