1929 Kaua‘i reforestation – On November 15, 1929, the U.S. Army “Bird of Paradise” Fokker C-2 aircraft stationed at Fort Shafter, O’ahu, scattered 1,689 pounds of seeds over Kaua’i’s leeward interior to commence a reforestation effort initiated by the Forestry Division of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association and the Territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry.
Seeds selected included Pride of India, Karaka, ironwood, Java plum, kukui, eucalyptus, Chinese fan palm, African tulip and Hawaiian lolou palm.
Chief forest ranger and head of H. S. P. A. reforestation work on Kaua’i, Albert Duvel, directed the pilot where to fly, while Joe Arita of the Kalaheo nursery, Koke‘e forest ranger A. L. McDonald and a member of the crew scattered the seeds.
Three flights were made from Port Allen Field to scatter seeds from Kalalau to Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale.
On each flight, the Fokker first headed to Kalalau between Pu‘ukapele and the sea. It then changed course to continue sowing seeds in the Makaweli highlands toward Mount Wai‘ale‘ale and over the headwaters of the Wailua and Hanalei rivers before returning to land.
The second flight flew further inland than the first, and the third flight’s course was closer to the mountains than the second.
Two years earlier, on June 28-29, 1927, this very same aircraft, with pilot Lt. Lester Maitland at the controls and Lt. Albert Hegenberger aboard as navigator, made history when it flew from Oakland, California, to Wheeler Field, O’ahu, to complete the first successful flight from the U. S. Mainland to Hawai‘i and the longest distance ever flown up to that time over open ocean, approximately 2,400 miles.
After its historic flight, the Bird of Paradise was used in Hawai‘i as a transport aircraft for about 10 years, including reforestation flights over Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, and Hawai‘i.