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End of Free Range Cattle at Kohala Ranch?

As one passes through the gates of Kohala Ranch just above the Kohala Coast resorts on the Big Island, signs warn that cattle roam “free range” through the Ranch. Signs along Kohala Ranch Road remind drivers of “cattle crossing” and indeed as a resident of Kohala Ranch, one soon learns to slow down for cattle, especially in the winter when the calves are born.

free range cattle at Kohala Ranch

Cattle have the right of way at this Kohala Ranch intersection.

Kohala Ranch Board of Directors Evaluates Future of Cattle Grazing

The cattle donʻt have the run of the entire 3500 acre ranch. During the winter you find mama cows and their calves in the higher Meadows and Summit locations, where winter rains turn the grass green to better support the nursing mothers and their growing babies. During the summer after weaning, the cattle move to the lower Heather section.

The Summit has also been home to a herd of presumably retired ranch horses that like to check in with my horses over the fence.

Horses at Kohala Ranch

My Arabian mare trotting down to greet visitors to her Kohala Ranch pasture.

The basic rule of thumb for Kohala Ranch homeowners has been that you fence whatever portion of your lot you want to protect from cattle. However, there is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of a cow that ended up in a swimming pool. And one New Yearʻs Eve I helped a badly shaken up couple whose car had just collided with a calf.

Because of the occasional incidents, the Kohala Ranch Board began to review its insurance coverage last year. To their surprise, it was discovered that livestock damage was excluded from the Associationʻs coverage. Further inquiry revealed that the rancherʻs “additional insured” coverage required written grazing agreements and no current grazing agreements are in place. Ironically, one of the most frequent questions I get from Kohala Ranch home buyers reviewing their preliminary title report is about old ranch license agreements that still show up.

Will Kohala Ranch Continue to be Home to Cattle and Horses?

The Board passed this Resolution:

“Until such time as the Kohala Ranch Community Association is (1) adequately insured for livestock on Common Area roadways and (2) the livestock owners comply with Hawaii fencing statutes, the Association shall suspend the practice of open range grazing.  However, nothing in this resolution shall prevent Kohala Ranch property owners from fencing their property and allowing grazing activities on their respective lot or lots.” 

At a talk story meeting of residents last weekend, many expressed support for continued ranching at the Ranch. The benefits cited include lower taxes on vacant land; fire control; and the distinctive ambiance many owners chose when the bought residences here.  Those in opposition worry about their personal safety when out walking in the neighborhood, damage to their fences, and the inevitable cow pies in the roads.

And if YOU are interested in making Kohala Ranch your home…

This is a very active year for residential real estate sales at Kohala Ranch. To date in 2018, two homes have sold and six more are in escrow:

Summary – Kohala Ranch Residential Sales – YTD
# Lowest Highest Average Median Mode
Listings 8 $1,099,000 $1,950,000 $1,490,750 $1,414,000 N/A
MLS Sale $ 2 $1,200,000 $1,700,000 $1,450,000 $1,450,000 N/A
DOM to sale 2 62 84 73 73 N/A
Sale/Current Price 2 97.2% 100.0% 98.6% 98.6% N/A
DOM (Contingent) 5 14 130 89 102 N/A

Stalls in kohala ranch horse property

If stalls for your horses are important in your property search, this Kohala Ranch estate on 35 acres is asking $ 2,595,000 (MLS 609426)

There are only 10 active listings with prices from $1,175,000 to $3,299,000.

Active Kohala Ranch Residential Listings
# Lowest Highest Average Median Mode
Listings 10 $1,175,000 $3,299,000 $2,221,700 $2,100,000 N/A
DOM (Active/Contingent) 10 41 326 128 108 N/A

Feel free to contact me directly for more information on these listings or other Hawaii Island equestrian-friendly communities…or if you just want continued updates on the status of Kohala Ranchʻs free range cattle.

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Amy Caraway

March 31, 2018

I am so sad to hear the open grazing has been suspended. That was a big reason we chose to vacation there several times in the past. As a fellow horse owner I loved being in Hawaii but having that ranch feel. I hope they get the details worked out. Will always be at the top of our list of places to stay and maybe live some day, regardless.

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)

March 31, 2018

> Thanks for reading and commenting, Amy. Will let everyone know how it turns out.

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