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What does a Cooperating Association do in a National Park?

August 7, 2012
Hawaii Pacific Parks Logo

An HPPA staff member dispenses aloha at the summit visitor center on Haleakalā.









Aloha. We are Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association (HPPA), a nonprofit cooperating association working in partnership with six national parks in Hawai‘i and American Samoa. Proceeds from our park stores support interpretation, educational programs, research projects, publications, and cultural activities.  

     Our six national park service (NPS) partner parks are arrayed across 2,600 miles of ocean, and encompass 358,371 acres across five islands in two archipelagos.  Our kuleana (responsibility) reaches from the snow-dusted summits of Mauna Loa and Haleakalā in the state of Hawai‘i to the snowy-white sands of Tutuila Island in American Samoa.  HPPA’s national park sites are connected by the ocean, not separated by it, and united by a cultural perspective and ecology unique to the Pacific. 

     Our partner parks are Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP, Haleakalā NP, Kaloko-Honokohau NHP, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau NHP, Pu‘ukoholā NHS and the National Park of American Samoa.

     Every day, HPPA’s frontline park store staff inform, explain, and orient. Millions of people from hundreds of countries, states, commonwealths and kingdoms come to our park stores in search of insight, inspiration, or information.  In many cases, a member of HPPA’s park store staff, or one of our cultural demonstrators, is the first contact visitors have in our partner national parks. 

     Additionally, HPPA administrative staff support the parks in the “back of the house,” contributing time and expertise to the creation of trail, geologic and bird guides, place-specific books, pamphlets, and other publications.  We also manage the project ordering, donation tracking, and funding request needs of our partner parks.

     In 2011 our park store revenues supported visitor services that included cultural immersion training for contractors in the NP of American Samoa, reprints of foreign language brochures at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau NHP, a donation to the interpretive staff of Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP, training support for interpretive coaches from all of the Pacific West Region parks, and volunteer program support for Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP and Haleakalā NP.

     In 2011, HPPA was able to donate to such varied NPS educational efforts as After Dark in the Park (Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP), various popular and engaging programs for youth of varied grade levels in the parks (Haleakalā NP, Kaloko-Honokohau NHP and Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP), and to Junior Ranger programs at all of these parks.

     Futhermore, the Hawksbill Sea Turtle Recovery Program at Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP received close to $36,000 in support for everything from project supplies to housing, while the Nene Monitoring and Banding programs at Haleakalā NP and Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP utilized over $10,000 in donations to monitor and band nënë, and safeguard nests against predation.  Hawaiian Petrel Monitoring at Haleakalā NP received $3,000 toward a Student Conservation Intern program, while the petrels on Mauna Loa at Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP were supported by a $10,000 donation that helped cover remote colony site work that requires helicopter flights and high altitude camping. 

      HPPA is proud to support annual cultural festivals in Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau NHP, and Pu‘ukoholā NHS.  Thousands of visitors every year experience authentic Hawai‘i by immersing themselves in more than 25 cultural demonstrations in the parks that include weaving, carving, fishing, the art of the warrior, hula, chanting, healing arts, sailing canoe rides, and food tastings.   HPPA is able to support the over 600 volunteers required to make these festivals go, in order that local communities and visitors are connected to their national park in real and dynamic ways.

     Other cultural programs includeIke Hana Noe’au and Nā Leo Manu at Hawai‘i Volcanoes NP that bring music, dance, chant and handcrafting into the national park, partnerships with cultural practitioners that bring a wealth of local knowledge and cultural insight into decisions made by the NPS, and even an historic and creative initiative intended to manifest a live-in educational center on the grounds of Kaloko-Honokohau NHP. 

In 2011, HPPA supported our partner parks with $1,292,197 in donations.

Please visit us at to find out more about us, or shop at our online store at

Kaloko Honokohau HPPA store

HPPA staff members at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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