Haiku Stairs, a legal and costly burden?


A major landowner says it wants to get rid of a popular and illegal hiking trail.

KHON2 reported on a landslide that damaged Haiku Stairs, also known as the “Stairway to Heaven.”

After years of back and forth discussions between the state, city and community leaders it appears Mother Nature may have the final say in the future of Haiku Stairs.

“We are going to be proposing to the board through our capital improvement program the money to begin the process to plan and design the removal of the stairs,” said Ernest Lau with the Board of Water Supply.

Part of the stairs were damaged by a landslide over the weekend and the Board of Water Supply, who owns part of the property, says it may be time to just get rid of it.

KHON2 asked if the stairway is a burden.

“At this point the stairs are not part of the core mission of the BWS,” said Lau. “We don’t need to access the ridge to maintain the watershed, so it is a financial burden right now because we are using security to keep the stairs closed and keep people away.”

The Board of Water Supply says the property is a liability. That’s why a decision on what happens next could be coming very soon.

“It’s important to move the ball forward here on this issue which has been languishing on since the early 2000’s,” said Lau.

“I think it would be a huge mistake to demolish the stairs,” said Jill Radke, vice president of The Friends of Haiku Stairs.

She says there are a number of groups that would like to take control of the stairs, but time is working against them.

“Time is not on our side we know the longer we wait the less likely it is to be affordable, to be safe there are going to need to be some repairs.”

There have been proposals to legally reopen the trail, one of which is establishing a managed entrance, but that would mean someone else would have to take control of the property.

“I believe it’s time to try to bring this to closure and hopefully by doing this there will be an agency that will step forward and is interested in pressing the stairs as a resource,” said Lau.

As far as when we could see something happen?

“The CIP budget proposal we’re trying to put in the budget would be for FY 16 so the funds would become available from July 1st of this year and we would only then be able to move forward to procure a consultant to begin planning for the removal then,” said Lau.

The BWS will still send crews up the stairs soon to look at the recent damage and see what needs to be done.

It is illegal to hike Haiku Stairs.

Last June through December 135 citations were given to hikers who trespassed onto the property. Six people were arrested and 100 warnings were issued.

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