The Secret of Hawaii’s “Forbidden Island”

It’s hard to imagine that just 17 miles from the beachside resorts of Kauai island there exists a small stretch of land that has remained untouched since Hawaii was settled by Polynesians in 1790. What sets the island of Niihau apart is the fact that most people will never set foot on its shores. The bulk of the island is restricted to its 70 full-time residents and their families. There are no paved roads, hospitals, police stations, grocery stores, or indoor plumbing. Residents rely on rainwater catching systems for water and a handful of solar panels for electricity. Their meals are procured from the land by hunting, fishing, and farming. This unspoiled ecosystem is a haven for many of the state’s endangered species, while the island’s residents contribute to preserving the Hawaiian language and culture with their dedication to living the lifestyle of their ancestors.