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The Alaka`i: Kaua`i's Unique Wilderness

Fernando Pe├▒alosa

ISBN 10: 1886502471 / ISBN 13: 9781886502475
Published by Quaking Aspen Books, 2009
Used Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Alaka`i: Kaua`i's Unique Wilderness

Publisher: Quaking Aspen Books

Publication Date: 2009

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Good

About this title


At an elevation of 4,000 feet above sea level, far from the traffic jams at Puhi, the shopping centers, the strip malls, and the faux Hawaiian resorts of lowland Kaua`i lies a twenty-square-mile plateau showcasing a unique natural environment. Extending from the Pu`u o Kila Lookout at the end of Highway 550 southeast to the summit of Wai`ale`ale, it is popularly referred to as the Alaka`i Swamp, although it is not a swamp at all. Instead, it is a tropical rain forest with a couple of dozen bogs featuring remarkable dwarf shrubs and trees, and plants and birds found nowhere else on Earth. Shrouded often in a legendary thick mist, known in Hawaiian as moe, it rains almost every day of the year. The ancient Hawaiians came to the Alaka`i to hunt birds and crossed it on their way down into Wainiha Valley and the North Shore. Later, adventurous Western missionaries, scientists, and others explored its wonders. In recent years the Alaka`i Wilderness Preserve was created to better protect it from outside influences, although invasive plants and feral goats and pigs are an ongoing threat that conservation organizations are valiantly trying to control. A boardwalk now makes it easier to traverse the spectacular environment of its northern bogs. This book features a full description of this distinct and special place, as well as the history of the human penetration of the area and its impact. There are chapters on the fauna and flora of the Alaka`i, both native and alien, and detailed descriptions of four trails that lead into the Alaka`i: the Alaka`i Swamp Trail, the Kawaikoi Stream Trail, the Mohihi-Wai`alae Trail, and the Pihea Trail. References to the Alaka`i in traditional Hawaiian oral literature, as well as newly composed literary creations are also discussed. The book includes a comprehensive bibliography, extensive notes, a detailed index, and more than two-hundred black-and-white illustrations in the text as well as a separate section of more than three-hundred color illustrations.

About the Author:

Fernando Pe˝alosa is Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach, and has written and published books in a number of fields. He has carried out research in Southern California, Mexico, Guatemala, Israel, and Yugoslavia. This is his first research effort in Hawai`i, spurred by his fascination with the Alaka`i ever since his first visit to Kaua`i in 1997.

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