HONOLULU (KHON2) — An old military tramway has turned into one of Oahu’s most popular hiking trails over the years. Now, one group says the City is removing a historical element that makes Koko Crater worth the climb. At the very top of the stairs is a steel platform the city is apparently planning to remove.

After overcoming more than a thousand steps, hikers are rewarded with breathtaking views.
Perched on the summit is a steel platform folks use for a better vantage point.

“It’s a historic, iconic platform, you know. It’s already an accomplishment just doing the stairs itself. So when they get to the top, you know, they want that picture,” said Lena Haapala of Kokonut Koalition.

And it wouldn’t be the same without it.

“It’s just raised high enough where you can see above everything. If it goes down to the concrete, then you won’t get that view,” said Haapala.

The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation issued the following statement:

The City recognizes that this platform was a popular location for pictures and served as a viewpoint at the summit, but it was not built for this purpose. It is our belief that the platform’s removal will only affect the view by a matter of a few feet. Furthermore, the platform is structurally unsound with part of it resting on the old winch gears. Having a safe viewpoint is more important than having one that is elevated by a few feet. We look forward to coordinating with the Koalition on possible maintenance at the summit that would further enhance the views. We are grateful for the wonderful work they are doing on the tramway and are looking for ways to continue to financially support that effort.

Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation

It was part of a project that was put on hold but is now moving forward to address safety issues.

“Last week we found out that they were going to move forward with the project, so we were just completely shocked,” shared Haapala.

The City and County of Honolulu issued the following statement:

We recently provided an update to the Kokonut Koalition that the City was moving forward with the project to mitigate several safety issues atop Koko Crater. The scope of the project includes: WWII-era bunkers, tunnels and vents that are filled with hazardous debris that must be removed and access sealed, installing signage warning of the existing conditions at the summit and the trestle area (bridge) and the removal of the summit’s steel platform and framing, which is partially resting on the old winch’s gears.”

City Councilman Tommy Waters was disappointed to hear about the decision.

“The good news is I’m willing to work with the new administration in order to figure out whether or not we can rescind this contract and actually make repairs to the platform rather than taking it down,” said City Councilman Tommy Waters.

Waters doesn’t know exactly when the removal will happen but says they need to act fast.

“It seems like the contract has already been put out and accepted. And it could be any day or any week now is my understanding,” said Waters.

The stairs, on the other hand, have been getting much-needed attention from volunteers, who are about a third of the way up. Haapala says the group is hoping to meet with City leaders again.

“So we can get this stopped because the community, the Koalition, nobody wants this platform removed,” said Haapala.