ATV tours offer off-road options

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HALEAKALA -- Two new all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tour operators here offer visitors a different perspective on Maui's backcountry.

Haleakala ATV Tours, which pays 25% commission to retailers, operates excursions to Maui's scenic Haleakala Ranch, which was established in 1888.

Maui ATV Tours offers 20% to 25% commission.

Janet Baldwin, who along with her husband, Jeff, started Haleakala ATV Tours this year, said they will expand the company's fleet in the coming year by adding six vehicles to the existing 12. Plans for 2003 also include an expanded roster of tours covering different backcountry routes, Baldwin said.

The customized tours offer private access to the 30,000-acre Haleakala cattle ranch. The four-wheel-drive ATVs provide access to terrain that is otherwise accessible only on foot or horseback, according to Baldwin.

No previous ATV driving experience is required, and clients ages 16 and up can drive them. For younger children (ages 8 to 15) and those who prefer to be driven, an eight-wheel, amphibious ATV is available.

Meanwhile, Maui ATV Tours celebrated its one-year anniversary this month. The company is located in the small town of Ulupalakua, located on the slopes of Mount Haleakala.

Maui ATV's tours start at 2,000 feet above sea level and range over 23,000 acres of privately owned land.

The company's stated goal is for clients "to never see anything twice," said owner Zig Graham, who runs the firm with partner Scott Mercier.

A highlight of Maui ATV's programs is a panoramic view of the five islands of Maui County and of the Big Island, ranging over an expanse of property "in one of the most beautiful places that you can imagine," Graham said.

Wildlife and domestic animals abound on these tours.

The company requires riders to be at least 16 years old to drive alone on an ATV. All clients ages 16 and 17 must have a parent or guardian's signature in order to drive.

Children older than age 7 can ride on the company's three-passenger ATV, which can be rented for just two passengers and must be reserved in advance.

The company also will make arrangements for large groups, Graham said.

Prices

Haleakala ATV Tours and Maui ATV Tours offer a range of expeditions. Details follow:

• Haleakala ATV Tours

The 3.5-hour tour, offered daily at 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., costs $130 per person. Riders (nondrivers) pay $95.

For the 90-minute version of the trip, offered daily at 4:30 p.m., the cost is $79.

Tours include a continental breakfast or picnic lunch; the services of a Red Cross-trained tour guide; a talk on the history of Haleakala Ranch; and a guided hike through the Ohia Rain Forest.

• Maui ATV Tours

The four-hour tour offers a range of diverse terrain, passing through three to four distinct ecosystems, and includes a picnic lunch.

Rates are $125 plus tax for adults and $105 plus tax for children.

A two-hour version passes Hawaii's only elk farm and stops for snacks and beverages. The cost is $90 for adults and $75 for children, excluding taxes.

Haleakala ATV Tours
Phone:

(808) 661-0288
Web:www.mauiatvadventures.com
Prices: $79 to $130
Commission: 25%

Maui ATV Tours
Phone: (808) 878-ATVX
Web:www.mauiatvtours.com
Prices: $90 to $125
Commission: 20% to 25% based on performance

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