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Uncertain Future for the Haiku Stairs

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One of Hawaii’s most talked about hikes and attractions, the Ha’iku Stairs, could be permanently closed due to its degree of danger and landowner liability.0fdf0b15959c4c74b98ffb1561e60d93.jpg

The Ha’iku Stairs hike, aka “The Stairway to Heaven”, is a popular destination in Kaneohe, Hawaii for hikers and thrill seekers who wish to gain a one-of-a-kind vantage point of the east side of Oahu. Although it’s illegal, hikers trespass on the property of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply of which the hike lies; disregarding potential penalties.

Brandon Ho, a local of the area, describes the hike as breath-taking and by far one of the best hikes he has been on.

The State of Hawaii has been debating on removing the stairs that scale up a ridge of the Ko’olau mountain range because of the physical risk involved and its liability in the case of injury. An alternative solution would be to engage in maintenance of the hike to make it safer for people to enjoy.tumblr_m2yrurSmrg1qjt3ewo1_500.png

Trespassing on a watershed property is listed as a criminal offense and can result in fines up to $600 and/or the maximum of six months in prison.Increase in regulation of the hike is evident from the 314 citations given from January through June of this year compared to the 328 citations given in all of 2015 and 135 citations in 2014.

In addition, there have been complaints by nearby residents about noise in the early morning.

Ho thinks that the State’s case to remove the stairs is rational and that he can see why residents complain. Nevertheless, he said, “I would be pissed if they take down the stairs because I think that everyone should be able to experience this amazing hike if they want to.”

Views from the Ha’iku Stairs have gained world-wide attention through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Avid hiker Kyle Morris, a Washington native, has been to Hawaii on multiple occasions and enjoys the outdoor activities the islands provide. Morris, unaware of the legality of the hike, explained, “When I looked up hikes to do in Hawaii, The Stairway to Heaven was one of the first things that came up. The view looked so beautiful that doing the hike became something I really desired.”

After learning of the punishments that can be delivered for hiking the Haiku Stairs, Morris questions whether or not he would still want to do it being that he has never done an illegal hike before.

The Ha’iku stairs were originally put in place to service a radio station antennae during WWII. Recently, a makeshift swing has been constructed that dangles off the edge of the mountain ridge along the hike, adding another dangerous element and more debate on the future of the “Stairway to Heaven”.

Click here for more information about the hike from “Friends of Haiku”.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for more next week! 

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