Auction aids effort to preserve forest
Musician Jack Johnson is auctioning off his guitar to help protect a pristine forest fronting the ocean where the Grammy-nominated artist has surfed for most of his life.
The surfing guitarist is partnering with a nonprofit group to raise money that will go toward the acquisition of the Pupukea Paumalu forest bluff on Oahu's North Shore.
Johnson joined with the North Shore Community Land Trust to post his autographed Martin guitar -- the one used to record his latest album, "In Between Dreams" -- on the eBay online auction site with a $1,000 starting price.
Bidding started Dec. 5. By late yesterday the price bid for the instrument was nearing $3,000.
The guitar is listed among other items being sold to benefit the trust, including several surfboards signed by top professional surfers and a painting by Robert Wyland that was also signed by the marine wildlife artist.
Proposed development of about 500 homes on the 400-foot-high bluff above Sunset Beach recently fell through. The Obayashi Corp. of Japan, which bought the land for $7 million in 1974, put it up for sale.
The North Shore trust and the Trust for Public Land are seeking about $1 million in funding to supplement the $7 million they have raised from federal, state, county and private sources since July to buy and protect the property.
The land borders popular Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps and forms a scenic backdrop to surf competitions, television shows and movies.
Plans call for a large upper portion of the property to be turned over to the state for hiking, outdoor education and native plant restoration, as well as agriculture and forestry activities.
The smaller lower portion, which comes down to the North Shore's main road, would go to the city as a possible expansion of Sunset Beach Community Park.
Johnson's laid-back music has sold about 3 million albums since his debut, "Brushfire Fairytales," in 2001.
For this year's Grammy Awards, he has been nominated in two high-profile categories: best male pop vocal performance for "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing" and best pop collaboration with vocals for "Gone Going" with the Black Eyed Peas.