Honolulu officials have announced the removal of the Haiku Stairs, a famous but off-limits hiking spot in Oahu, Hawaii. The decision comes as a response to the continued illegal access by tourists and the disturbances caused to local residents. 

The removal will start at the end of April and is expected to last six months, costing about $2.5 million.

Historic Haiku Stairs in Oahu Face Demolition Over Public Safety
Haiku Stairs, Oahu, Hawaii
(Photo : Kalen Emsley on Unsplash)

Honolulu to Remove Haiku Stairs

The Haiku Stairs, known as the Stairway to Heaven, were built by the US Navy during World War II. Despite being closed to the public in 1987, the stairs have attracted hikers, mostly driven by social media exposure. This has led to various problems for the community nearby and increased liability risks for the city.

CNN reported that Mayor Rick Blangiardi emphasized that the decision to remove the stairs was not taken lightly. It aims to respect the local community and the natural environment. The project also seeks to improve the quality of life for those living near the stairs and to ensure public safety.

Council member Esther Kiaʻāina noted that the decision was influenced by the need to address the illegal trespassing that has plagued the area for decades. Removing the stairs will help restore peace in the neighborhood and reduce the city's legal risks.

The removal of the Haiku Stairs is a significant step for Honolulu, balancing the preservation of its natural beauty with the rights and peace of local residents. It also marks an end to a long-standing issue of public access to a historically significant but problematic location.

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Is Hiking in Haiku Stairs Illegal?

The Haiku Stairs in Oahu, Hawaii, known as the "Stairway to Heaven," offers stunning views that attract hikers worldwide. However, climbing these 3,922 steps is illegal and can lead to hefty fines or jail time. 

The trail was built by the U.S. Navy in 1942 and has been off-limits since 1987 due to safety concerns. Despite this, adventurers continue to visit, risking deterioration and dangerous conditions on the steep, muddy ridges.

The hike, which can take 4-7 hours depending on conditions and the hiker's experience, is not just physically challenging but also legally risky. 

As shared by Oahu Hike, local police enforce the law strictly, with trespassers facing possible fines of $1,000 or more. Furthermore, the stairs are in poor condition, with some parts unstable and liable to break.

For those determined to experience the top of the ridge legally, the Moanalua Middle Ridge Trail provides a safer, legal alternative. 

The travel blog suggests that this 9-mile round trip starts at Moanalua Valley Park and is suitable only for experienced hikers. It does not use the Haiku Stairs for ascent but reaches the same viewpoint, allowing for safe and legal enjoyment of the scenery.

Local residents urge visitors to respect the neighborhood by keeping noise down, avoiding littering, and not trespassing on private property. This approach helps preserve the peace in the community and the natural beauty of the area surrounding the Haiku Stairs.

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