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Bill Proposes Funding The Removal of Ha‘iku Stairs

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One of the most popular, and illegal, hiking trails in O?ahu may not exist for much longer.

The Honolulu City Council advanced a bill that would fund $1 million to the Division of Urban Forestry to remove the Ha?iku Stairs, commonly known as Stairway to Heaven.

The highly elevated trail gives a panoramic view of Windward O?ahu, but the unkept stairway makes it a dangerous path for hikers.

The project was a line item in Bill 7, the city’s executive capital budget for the next fiscal year.

The majority of testifiers supporting Bill 7 are residents who live near the entryway of the trail. Reaching the trail’s access point requires hikers to trespass through an old Honolulu Board of Water Supply driveway. 

Many in opposition want the trail to be better maintained with managed access.

A special budget committee discussed the bill at a meeting Tuesday. It will now go to a third reading before the full council.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply used to be in charge of the stairs and the property, but the board voted last year to transfer management of the stairs and the surrounding land to the city.

The military built the stairs during World War II to transport equipment for a Navy radio transmission station in Ha?ik? Valley. The trail was officially closed in 1987. The city, then under Mayor Jeremy Harris, completed $875,000 in renovations around 2002 with plans to reopen the stairs to public access. BWS transferred ownership of the stairs and adjoining land to the city last year. At the time, then Mayor Kirk Caldwell supported managed access and wanted to turn the stairs into a public attraction.

Correction: The article previously stated trail access requires hikers to trespass through homeowners' yards. HPR regrets the error. 

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