What Is This 90 For 90 All About?

What Is This 90 For 90 All About?

Some backstory:

Congress authorized Hawai’i National Park on August 1, 1916, as the twelfth U.S. National Park. Also, that year, the National Park Service was established to manage the growing list of federal national parks.

By 1920, it became apparent that the newly minted park rangers could not furnish all the help and information needed and wanted by the ever-increasing numbers of the visiting public. People wanted trail maps and bird guides. They wanted walking sticks and backpacks. They wanted to know about the park they were in, to really understand it. That year the Yosemite Museum Association was founded to develop a museum and visitor contact station in Yosemite National Park.

In the early 1930s, Hawai‘i National Park officials decided to follow the example of Yosemite and form a cooperating association. At that time, Hawaiʻi National Park was made up of what would later be split into Hawaiʻi Volcanoes and Haleakalā national parks. The meeting to organize Hawai‘i Natural History Association/HNHA (now Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association/HPPA) was held on November 13, 1933, at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes. The association was born. Lots of paperwork would follow. 

In 1948, the Hawai‘i Natural History Association was officially designated a nonprofit “cooperating educational society” by the National Park Service. In those days, park rangers were doing hard work in often remote areas, with few chances to meet and orient visitors and no resources for them. Nonprofits like HNHA stepped in to do that, opening sales locations as visitor centers were built and donating the proceeds to the parks. Soon, we started supporting educational and cultural programs, too, like public talks and demonstrations.

Over the decades, our partner list expanded and we opened park stores (initially called “bookstores”) at:

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
Haleakalā National Park
Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park
Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site
National Park of American Samoa
and, as of 2023, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

On December 1, 2011, Hawaiʻi Natural History Association rebranded and changed our name to Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association (HPPA) to better reflect our evolving role in the parks. We also debuted an expanded online shop that carries sales items from all of our partner locations. When you walk into our visitor center park stores or shop online with us, you join us in supporting our national park partners. Every item is chosen or designed to deepen the park experience, meet visitor needs, and provide context and understanding of park resources.

In addition to running park stores and donating sales proceeds to our partners, we have grown to support park cultural festivals and demonstrations, and we pitch in with community events like fairs and conferences. Donations from proceeds also support youth programs and endangered species programs, purchase critically needed equipment, and so much more. Also, for most visitors, our staff in the park store may be the only persons they make contact with on their visit, and we are there to help orient and inform them.

In the 90 years that we have been in existence, we have donated over $26,000,000 in support of projects and services in the national parks.

This year, to celebrate our anniversary, we set a goal of raising $90,000 from individual donations at park store checkouts. All donations made in a park go to that park for its priorities and programs. We set December 31st, 2023, as our fundraising deadline. To our very pleased surprise, visitor donations blew through our goal a month early, so we decided to keep fundraising until the 31st and donate even more to our park partners at the end of the year!

As of this blog writing, donations have reached $95,000, and we are on-track to hit $100,000 by the 31st. This kind of success can only come about because of the dedication of the national parks constituency, which is all of you. We plan to be here for another 90 years, growing and changing to best meet the needs of our NPS partners, and we know you will be there with us. Mahalo nui loa, thank you very much, for all that you do for parks.

To donate: Donate to HPPA

To shop to support: Online Park Stores

To read about cooperating associations: NPS Brochure



Hawaii Pacific Parks Association Location Map
Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association. P.O. Box 74 Hawaii National Park, 96718 HI