Honolulu (KHON2) – The Friends of Haʻikū Stairs organization is sharing the history of the Stairway to Heaven, and their hopes for the future.
The steps along Oahu’s Ko’olau mountain range provided pedestrian access to former U.S. Navy communication facilities in the 40’s before hikers started making their way to the top.
The Friends of Haʻikū Stairs is it a nonprofit group formed in 1986 to mālama the historic Haʻikū Stairs and its environment for current and future generations. Today the group meets regularly around preserving the stairs and restoring managed access to the area.
“Our mission is keep and preserve the stairs for current and future generations,” says Vernon Ansdell, President, Friends of Haʻikū Stairs. “Haʻikū Stairs represent a rich historical and unmatched recreational resource that is near and dear to the hearts of any who have experienced it first hand. You’d have to be there to know the feeling.”
While there is talk of removing the stairs, The Friends of Haʻikū Stairs believe they can be saved. Ansdell cites a seven-volume, 4500 page study that was completed over 1,008 days, consulting with 1,100 individuals and 97 city state and federal agencies, political offices, and community groups.
He says, “The studied conclusion of that $500,000 environmental impact statement completed last year was that access could be established on solely state land, requiring no private landowner buy in, and that managed access would be 2 million dollars better for taxpayers than a plan to remove the stairs from the mountain. In all 8 carefully studied criteria for ranking alternatives, managed access scored either highest or second highest, with no poor ratings.”
To follow or learn more, visit https://www.haikustairs.org/