City considering managed access to Haiku Stairs

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The City and County of Honolulu is considering managed access to the Haiku Stairs a.k.a “Stairway to Heaven”.

It wants to work with an organization that would take over the Haiku Stairs and restore, operate and maintain it.

They also want to set up a fee system for entry.

Lisa Bishop with Friends of Hanauma Bay said setting up this type of fee system has worked to control over-tourism and illegal activity at Hanauma Bay.

“The City and County of Honolulu and DLNR at the time, in 1990, were present in saying that we really have to educate the visiting population in Hanauma Bay, and we have to reduce the numbers of the visiting public to Hanauma Bay, ” said Bishop. “The whole concept was great and the initial implementation was great.”

However, Bishop said the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), which runs Hanauma Bay, still has a difficult time with upkeep at the bay.

She said a system like this would not work in Haiku Stairs’s case because fixing the trail would be much more difficult and nearly impossible for DPR staff to handle. She said a partnership between an organization and the City would work because the organization can focus solely on improving the trail.

“A partnership for Haiku Stairs would be a much better option than adding it as a property for DPR to manage it, not only because [of] the extent of the trails… They would have to be extensively upgraded and made safe,” said Bishop.

However, residents in the surrounding neighborhoods of the Haiku Stairs say controlling access to the stairs hasn’t worked so far, with thousands of people illegally trudging through their property and hopping their fences to get to the trail. Many residents don’t believe that will change under this new proposal. They believe illegal trespassing will continue.

“There are so many access points around here,” said Brent Teraoka, a resident living near the Haiku Stairs. “Unless the private corporation is willing to put a security guard at any of the tens of entry points, it’s not going to work.”

If the trail becomes legal, he said there may even be more illegal parking in the neighborhood, and parking is already a headache.

“They’ll double park, triple park, and they’ll be on the mountain for three hours and we can’t… there’s no way to get in touch with them at any point in time,” said Teraoka.

The City and County of Honolulu has put in a request to find out how the trail is managed. It is also still gathering responses on how this managed access could work.

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