Swing on top of closed Haiku Stairs trail removed
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Swing on top of closed Haiku Stairs trail removed

  • COURTESY BOARD OF WATER SUPPLY

    Workers removed a swing and the rusty poles that supported it above the Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven trail.

A private contractor removed a swing and the rusty poles that supported it that allowed hikers to swing past the edge of a cliff on a mountain more than 2,750 feet high.

The Board of Water Supply said the swing on top of the Haiku Stairs trail, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, was removed by about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The board, which owns the land, hired a contractor, The Nakoa Companies, for the job at a cost of $23,000.

“The swing was an extremely dangerous attraction at Haiku Stairs that should never have been installed in the first place,” water board manager and chief engineer Ernest Lau said in a news release. “In addition to drawing thrill seekers to illegally climb the stairs and put their own lives at risk for the chance to ride it, the swing encouraged people to step onto and damage the watershed land it was placed over. The poles needed to be removed to eliminate the chance that another device could be installed in the same area.”

Hikers posted online videos of people soaring out over the mist-shrouded mountain cliff, including one where a young woman appeared to slip.

“Basically, it looks like she slipped off the seat of the swing and was dangling by her arms, and her companions were having trouble actually bringing her back safely to the stairs,” Lau said. “That was very frightening.”

It is still unclear who created the swing.

The seat of the swing hangs on metal chains attached to rusted poles that are remnants of the former Coast Guard OMEGA station.

The Board of Water Supply heard about the swing a few weeks ago and began making plans to remove it.

Hikers who climb the stairs or watershed land can be cited for trespassing and fined up to $1,000. But many continue to trek up the ladderlike metal stairs.

Only the swing, chains and poles were removed today. The ladder and stairs remain.

A helicopter took workers and debris to and from the site.

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  • Good, now tear down the stairs before more fools access it illegally, get hurt, and then turn around and sue the state (i.e., we the taxpayers). As P.T. Barnum said, there’s an idiot born every minute!

    • hey SA, what exactly is the point of embedding a video of a helicopter landing?

      and as someone pointed out yesterday, just remove the bottom hundred feet or so of the stairs. no need spend money to take the whole thing down.

  • The whole Stairway to Heaven should be closed and removed. It is an attractive nuisance. Several people have been rescued by the Fire Department with men and helicopters for one injury or another. All oif this is at taxpayer expense and is a waste of Fire Department time and resources.

  • Climbing the stairs is illegal, I say leave the swing and if some idiot gets hurt too bad and then fine them the $1000.00. I know that will never happen in liberal Hawaii but I can dream.

  • hey, NO ONE is asking former Mayor J. Harris to assist in the operating expenses for the STAIRS that was REPAIRED at a cost of $800,000.00 DOLLARS!! repaired so tat it can be made ILLEGAL to be on it !! soooo D-U-M-B…

  • The RIGHT thing to do is for anyone D-U-M-B ENOUGH to take-a-swing(pun) GO RIGHT AHEAD!…and IF it were to break and you took a 1000ft freefall, hey no biggie, YOU take RESPONSIBILITY !! YOU suffer the consequences! YOU and ONLY YOU! NO filing a LAWSUIT!, NO blaming the CITY, NO BLAMING ANYONE but YOURSEL !

    • And who will pay to have guards to get hikers to sign the waiver to relieve the City and State of liability and assume the risk of injury, failure of the stairs or swing, etc.? Who will pay the lawyers to draft the waiver and defend cases that are likely to happen anyway? There are two options: Get rid of the stairs (at substantial cost to the state or city), or repair it, maintain it, and provide security and stop anyone from entering without having signing the waiver.

      • Name one single lawsuit where a civilian sued and won as a result of Haiku Stairs?

        Officials say up to 150 people a week are caught illegally hiking there.

        So they technically could have recouped $7.8 million in a single year if they arrested and fined every one of the 7,800 hikers at $1,000. Something tells me not a single person was arrested and fined afterwards. The recouped funds could have paid off the rescue services provided to those that got stuck.

        Best to charge $250 per person and force them to sign a release of liability, no different than going sky-diving, and they could generate $1.9 million a year based on 150 hikers a week alone.

        • dragoninwater, There is not one lawsuit because it is illegal to hike the stairs. If you hike the stairs and get hurt you have no legal recourse to sue.

    • The problem is no one takes responsibility for their foolish actions. Get hurt, sue the city. Get lost, call for help. Get killed, sue others for their negligence, it’s not our fault.

  • The stairs should be properly maintained. The state should provide daily opportunities to use the stairs at a nominal fee; provide parking at Windward Community College and contract a shuttle service to eliminate parking problems. The Stairway to Heaven is known throughout the world and their are more responsible people who would use the facility than there are knuckle-headed thrill seekers who would construct a swing.

    • Give me a break. Who will pay for the maintenance and liability? We the taxpayers that’s who. I for one am tired of paying for these rescues . There is no such thing as a nominal fee that will cover the costs of lawsuits by those that get injured by sanctioning use of the stairs as demonstrated by those that have been injured on State trails e.g. Sacred falls. It should have been taken down years ago but instead the Harris administration chose to repair it and it continues to be a festering problem. Eliminate the stairs, eliminate the problem.

      • No riskier than than going skydiving. Sign a release of liability and be done with it. The government could start charging $250 per person for the experience and offer a zip-line for those that feel like taking the adrenaline junkie rush back down.

    • Weisun, you must be on prescription parka-lo-lo. Will have to rename the stairs, “Kuckle Heads to Heaven” if the Stairs are ever re-opened. Needs to come down already.

  • They want to save money on removing the stairs just remove the first 500 feet or so at the beginning. If hikers still want to go then make them work for it.

    • Having seen some very dedicated hard core mountain bike ramp builders illegally build out some extremely impressive ramps in national forests I can safely assume crafty hard core hikers will use ropes or build makeshift stairs to reconnect the missing 500 feet.

      Best solution is to turn it into a profitable operation. No riskier than going sky diving, have the hikers pay a $250 fee, sign a release of liability and offer a zip-line down for hard core zip-line enthusiasts.

    • Thatʻs because it has been proven that regardless of what you might think the masses are unable to be responsible enough with Hawaiiʻs wonderful resources. The resources that exist on that mountain would be shredded, trampled and destroyed given the open opportunity, much more precious than the almighty dollar. Hanauma Bay is a perfect example. It is not even a fraction if what it once was 40 years ago.

  • Remove stairs. Anyone caught trespassing should be fined at least $1000. I f require rescue, they should pay to cover the cost plus the $1000 fine.

    • Trespassers should be arrested and forced to post bail to ensure the government actually gets paid otherwise the violators will fly back the next day to some hole-in-the-wall state like North Dakota and never pay the fine.

  • Since it such popular spot, the State should set it up as a paid attraction, charging a fee and requiring people to sign a waiver of liability before they climb the stairs.

  • Yes, please take down the stairs. This morning they started up Lolii at 2:00 a.m. and you can also see lights on the trail of those people who are already up there. They think this is funny and they just want to do what they want. BOW get with the program, the group that calls themself the Friends of Haiku Stairs is so full of sh@@. They talk big but no action. Take down those stairs now and forever.

  • Setting up the swing was a stupid idea. But the problems seem to be related to the access on the Windward side of the trail. Why doesn’t the state just dismantle the stairs but still allow access to the summit from the Leeward side? Hikers will just have to go back down the way they came up.

  • No longer need to have the stairs if people don’t need to access them – including BWS. Otherwise, if you are going to keep the stairs, the same problem will continue with illegal hikers. There were illegal hikers before the swing and there will be illegal hikers now that the swing is down. But if no one wants to pay to take the stairs down, let’s make some money from all the fines that could be collected, right? $1K x 20 hikers per day x 365 days – you do the math. Then the mayor can pay for the rail. LOL. And what about all the other trails and areas that are closed to hikers? If the area is marked as illegal to hikers, have a task force to monitor these areas and make some money for the city or throw these people in jail.

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