Hawaii’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ being permanently removed over trespassing tourists

Hawaii’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ being permanently removed over trespassing touristsHawaii’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ being permanently removed over trespassing tourists
via KHON2
Bryan Ke
April 18, 2024
Honolulu has begun its permanent removal of iconic landmark Haiku Stairs, known as the Stairway to Heaven, due to safety concerns and illegal tourist behavior, such as trespassing.
Key points:
  • The City and County of Honolulu announced the decision in a press release on April 10. The local government is partnered with contractor the Nakoa Companies Inc. for the removal project.
  • The influx of visitors to the Haiku Stairs over the years reportedly led to numerous rescues and disturbances in the surrounding neighborhoods. Approximately 11,430 individuals were turned away by authorities between August 2017 and March 2020. Additionally, over 188 people have been rescued from the hiking trail between 2010 and 2022, all funded by taxpayers’ money.
  • The decision to remove the stairs, located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, was made after years of deliberation about whether it would be saved or removed.
  • The removal project officially began this month and is expected to take at least six months, with a projected cost of $2.58 million.
The details:
  • The project addresses liability issues, enhances public safety and improves the quality of life for nearby residents and the environment, as outlined in Resolution 21-154 passed by the Honolulu City Council in June 2021.
  • The project contractor is responsible for removing the aging steel stair structure, which will begin with 600 stair modules, while preserving associated historical structures. Additionally, the contractor will oversee the rehabilitation of impacted areas by re-vegetation with native plants.
  • “This was a decision, when we came into office, that was long overdue,” Mayor Rick Blangiardi said during the announcement. “Over the course of many months, in meeting with the people involved and the discovery that we put into it, I can promise you that this was not a capricious decision.”
  • The press release noted that the project was sourced from operating funds from fiscal years 2023 and 2024.
  • Effective coordination between the City and County of Honolulu and The Nakoa Companies Inc. will minimize disruptions to the community and prioritize public safety in the designated construction zone, the press release noted.
About the location:
  • Built by the U.S. military during World War II to access communication facilities on the ridgeline, the Haiku Stairs have been closed to the public since 1987.
  • The treacherous trail has a total of 3,922 steps, twisting through the Ko’olau Mountain Range, which has a height of over 2,800 feet above sea level.
  • The location offers breathtaking views from the mountain range, including overlooking Kaneohe.
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