When Kawela Plantation was still a dream in Senator Yee's mind, he met with several Hawaiian activist groups, the Molokai community and the Molokai Chamber of Commerce and presented his plan for development of Kawela. The feelings were mixed. But, one thing stood out prominently - the preservation of archeological sites. Senator Yee assured them he would do everything possible in this area. He hired Bishop Museum to conduct a survey of all such sites. Bishop Museum conducted an intensive field survey covering 1,236 acres. The field force located 182 sites which revealed 499 features representing a wide range of late prehistoric period Hawaiian structure types. Numerous artifacts were found, including the only two-piece canoe paddle, an extremely rare artifact form. All of the artifacts are currently stored at the Bishop Museum. Petroglyph sites were also located depicting anthropomorphic figures, fish hooks and dogs. An old Hawaiian rock slide was also located.

On recommendation of Bishop Museum, Senator Yee created 35 historic site easements in the Kawela area and submitted these 35 significant historical sites to the National Register of Historic places which was accepted and approved by the State of Hawaii Historic Places Review Board.