Repairs for Kalaupapa
The Kalaupapa National Park Service (NPS) has been busy with restoration projects both in the settlement and on topside Molokai. For those hoping to get a taste of Kalaupapa without the arduous hike, newly replaced informational exhibits are now displayed at the overlook at Pala`au State Park in Kala`e.
Crews worked last week to repair the rock wall and improve the overall appearance of the overlook area, said Steve Prokop, Kalaupapa NPS superintendent. Improvements included replacing the weather-worn plaques that tell the story of the settlement’s history, which had become difficult to read since their original installation about 20 years ago, said Prokop.
In the future, he said the NPS plans to expand the “interpretation area” with additional exhibits and even a kiosk.
Down in the settlement itself, crews have been working for the past couple months to rebuild the historic slaughterhouse, which had been severely damaged by March’s heavy rain and wind.
“It was a major project because it hadn’t been worked on for 30 or 40 years,” said Prokop, of the recently-completed restoration. “It’s a landmark…when you come down trail.”
The slaughterhouse was used regularly until the 1980s, when cattle were eradicated from Molokai in an effort to control bovine tuberculosis.
Because it is now named as a historic structure, specially-trained Kalaupapa Park workers had to rebuild the slaughterhouse using original materials, said Prokop. Most of the structure had to be replaced.
Funding for the project was part of $200,000 in emergency storm damage from NPS in Washington, D.C. That money also went toward renovation of several other structures in Kalaupapa damaged in the storm, as well as pali trail repairs, according to Prokop.