Rose de Freycinet, who accompanied her husband, Louis, on a round the world scientific expedition, described this region in her journal in 1819, “Nobody can ever have seen a more arid and dreadful aspect than this part of the island of Owighee that we have before us; there is not a tree, not the smallest part of a plant; one would say that fire had passed over it.” The thirty-five miles of arid coastline between Kawaihae and Kailua-Kona remained accessible only by boat until the opening of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway in 1975. Since that time, several major destination resorts, oases amidst the lava rock, have been developed. The placement of utility poles fifteen hundred feet mauka of the Queen Kaahamanu Highway was a condition insisted upon by Laurance Rockefeller, who was developing Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.
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