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Nonprofit group advocates for reopening Haiku Stairs

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 09:25 a.m. HST, Mar 25, 2013

A nonprofit is encouraging the city to reopen access roads to the Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, and implement a management program similar to the one at Hanauma Bay.

The Honolulu City Council’s Park and Recreation Committee at 10:30 a.m. today is scheduled to take up the controversial issue of what to do with Haiku Stairs.

The original wooden stairs were built to provide access to a Navy radio antenna atop the Koolau Range in Haiku Valley. They were replaced in 1952 with metal stairs.

Under former Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration, the city repaired the 3,922-step stairway, which was shut down in 1987 due to disrepair.

The city had planned to reopen the Haiku Stairs in October 2002. But from 2002 to 2003, the popular hiking attraction became a point of contention with area residents. They claimed hikers were trespassing through their property, parking on their streets, blocking mail delivery and trash pickup and arriving early in the morning, causing dogs to bark and waking residents. So access was fenced off.

In August 2012, Don Tiki show singer and comedian Fritz Hasenpusch died while on a hike.

Hikers continue to trespasss. In February, A man and woman from the mainland were cited for trespassing after they got lost while hiking the Haiku Stairs trail. The two were cited for trespassing, a petty misdemeanor.

“Haiku Stairs is an historic marvel that is far too valuable to destroy — particularly when there are more effective, sensible solutions available,” said Vernon Ansdell, president of Friends of Haiku Stairs, in a statement. “There are four access roads that can be reopened to allow hikers to approach the stairs during daylight hours without disturbing the neighborhoods.”

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noheawilli wrote:
Yes, please get them stairs open, it's not like we don't run up them at will, and the ban just builds contempt for the law by our younger generation.
on March 24,2013 | 04:47PM
8082062424 wrote:
Yes Please do it a beautiful hike
on March 24,2013 | 04:53PM
awahana wrote:
I did it after the new stairs and railings renovation, before all the security guards and other trespassing warnings were created.
That was 10 years ago. Wow. Seems like it was only a few years ago.
Great hike. Best to go when sunny and no wind, to be safe.
Even hid a Geocache [geocaching.com] up there.
on March 24,2013 | 05:11PM
jusjoking wrote:
I went after a new magnum p.i. showed them and we found out where it was filmed. signed in at the coast gaurd building. I seem to remember signing a liability waiver that made me accept responsibility for my actions. Something got mucked up when local government got involved. Oh well, stairs and that hike would probably kill me now. Still have the amazing pictures and memories........
on March 24,2013 | 05:57PM
tiki886 wrote:
There are three major issues: 1st, the neighborhood doesn't want the increased traffic; 2nd, there is no parking; 3rd, insurance liability for the State is in the multi-million dollar range. (And we live in a very litigious society.)

I am for opening the trail but these appear to be almost insurmountable hurdles. It would be like opening Sacred Falls to the public even with 'rocks falling, enter at your own risk' warning signs and you know that won't stop lawsuits against State taxpayers.

You have to expect the State to charge admission fees to pay for the issues described in the article above just like Hanauma Bay but do we have the "money"? Is Hanauma Bay paying for its costs or does it need subsidies?

on March 24,2013 | 06:40PM
bikemom wrote:
" Is Hanauma Bay paying for its costs or does it need subsidies?" My understanding is that Hanauma Bay has plenty of money to support the park.
on March 24,2013 | 09:45PM
alohabrian wrote:
tiki886. Good points. Here's some good info about liability, etc. : http://haikustairs.org/updates-news/myths-vs-facts/
on March 24,2013 | 10:00PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Our over paid politicians need to pass a law preventing any form of lawsuit against the state for accidents on hiking trails. It is inappropriate to prevent public access to areas such as Sacred Falls. It is flat out unfair that you have to have a friend in the DLNR to be able to get up there.
on March 25,2013 | 07:27AM
mitsuolee wrote:
Who is going to be held liable if someone gets hurt or dies?
on March 25,2013 | 08:04AM
ya_think wrote:
How about the person who is responsible "Themselves"
on March 25,2013 | 10:03AM
mitsuolee wrote:
Oh yeah, just the other day as we drove home to Kaneohe, my passenger stated to me that there was someone on the verticle climb of the stairway facing away from the ladder. Damn fool will cost the C & C of Honolulu big bucks if he/she fell.
on March 25,2013 | 08:19AM
konag43 wrote:
since the public is inconderate of the residents living in the area the stairs should remain closed.
on March 25,2013 | 12:48PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Keep it closed. Until they can figure a lot of things out, think again and still keep it closed.
on March 25,2013 | 02:23PM
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