Parker Ranch cuts back on its tourism program

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Blaming the current economic downturn and resulting operational losses, the board of directors for the Parker Ranch on the Big Island began phasing out some of its guided tours on Oct. 27.

Parker Ranch officials said the decision was made in an effort to eliminate unprofitable businesses and cut operating costs.

"The company will refocus its efforts on its two core business lines: livestock production and land resource management," Parker Ranch Inc. Chairman Peter Moynahan said in a statement.

Home to more than 160 years' worth of history, Parker Ranch is one of the oldest ranches in the U.S. Spanning more than 130,000 acres on the island of Hawaii, Parker is the fifth-largest cattle ranch in the country.

Often a surprise to visitors expecting only sandy beaches and palm trees, the ranch offered guided tours of a property full of ranching heritage as well as several horseback-riding options and, more recently, all-terrain-vehicle excursions.

The ranch's Cattle Country, Mana Road and Historical Homes tours will be discontinued by Dec. 31.

The horseback and ATV tours will continue, however.

While Moynahan insisted livestock production would be the ranch's primary long-term agricultural business, he did say that the organization would pursue other options.

"Parker Ranch Inc. plans to further explore and potentially expand into other long-term land-management opportunities that can be complementary to cattle ranching, including wind and/or solar energy production, biomass production, wildlife habitat restoration and other natural resource-based land uses," he said.

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