Ohau’s Gunstock Ranch Ecotourism Experience

According to the United Nations aviation division, carbon emissions from air travel are on track to triple by 2050 if no action is taken. Travelers are becoming more aware of this and are seeking experiences to be good citizens of the world.

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Hilton Hotels in Hawaii offer a list of ecotourism activities to help guests give back to the islands. Many are located at farms and ranches located about one hour from Waikiki Beach.

Charley’s Taxi Charter drives guests through the center of the third largest Hawaiian Island, to to see a more exotic and natural environment to the Hawaiian Legacy Forest at Gunstock Ranch.

Visitors have the opportunity to walk the footsteps of Hawaiian royalty and support the island’s conservation efforts. This 600 acres working cattle ranch is located at the base of the majestic Ko’olau Mountains. This is birds sing, the wind whispers, and the earth thrives.

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When the owners purchased this land years ago, they discovered only four native plants on the property. To help support their efforts to reforest their land with native plants, the ranch offers family-friendly opportunities including horseback rides, off-road experiences, walking and hiking tours to some of the most spectacular ocean views on the windward side of O‘ahu. Gunstock Ranch guests can be a part of Hawai‘i’s history by planting a Legacy Tree in O‘ahu’s first Hawaiian Legacy Forest. The Milo tree was a favorite to the great warrior, diplomat and leader King Kamehameha. It’s dense wood was used for bowls and carving a canoe. Not only do these trees grow tall fast, but they produce a heart shaped leaf.

Along the drive are signs with corporate sponsors including All Nippon Airways (ANA). According to Ty, one of the ranch handlers, ANA has donated one million dollars to plant Milo trees. “They are committed to reduce global warming and build a sustainable society. In return they earn carbon credits from the Hawaiian government.”

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I learned ANA planted 520 legacy trees in Kahuku to represent the number of seats on board a plane that flies to Oahu. For almost two years, Gunstock Ranch has planted a 3,000 saplings to offset the carbon of a family of four, and is filling the earth with light and warmth.

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Personally planting a milo tree is a special ceremony. Not only do guests get a choice of small saplings, but also the location of where to have their tree grow. Ranch handlers provide nutritious potting soil and water for the tree dedication. The tree is uniquely paired to each person through GPS technology, allowing visitors to monitor it’s growth on a return visit.

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Next time you visit Oahu, visit Gunstock Ranch and learn how this cattle ranch is providing an important way to improve the health of Oahu and, on a small scale, the health of the whole planet, with the King’s tree offsetting carbon pollution throughout its life. 

This review is featured in Luxe Beat Magazine 

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