Hawaii’s well-known Haiku Stairs, generally known as the ‘Stairway to Heaven’, are billed to be removed in 2022 amid a string of trespassing incidents and injuries.
The steep, steel step structure provides pedestrian access to former US Navy communication facilities on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and has a total of 3,922 steps which span along the Kaneohe mountain range.
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The 8,050 feet long stairs reach a dramatic mountain peak through the clouds and many locals and tourists have billed the site as boasting the best view in all of Hawaii.
However, a Honolulu City Council meeting to discuss ongoing issues with the site could lead to its permanent closure, CNN reported Thursday.
In 1987, the stairs were permanently made off-limits to the public. But that has not deterred hikers, YouTubers, thrill seekers and other tourists from sneaking into the site.
There have been numerous injuries there over the years, most recently a 24-year-old who hurt his knee and had to be airlifted out in April.
“Due to rampant illegal trespassing, Haiku Stairs is a significant liability and expense for the city, and impacts the quality of life for nearby residents,” councilmember Esther Kiaʻāina told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now. Kiaʻāina, whose district includes Kaneohe, authored Resolution 21-154, the proposal to remove the stairs.
On September 8, the Honolulu City Council voted unanimously in favor of removing the staircase for good.
“The city has already spent nearly $1 million in taxpayer dollars to remodel the stairs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in security costs,” council member Brandon Elefante told Hawaii News Now.
The measure was then sent to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. He is expected to approve the removal of the Haiku Stairs and allocate $1 million of the city’s budget to cover the expense. He has 60 days to make a final decision.
Once the measure is formally approved, the mayor’s office must establish a timeline for the stais’ removal and destruction.
Currently, there is a maximum $1,000 fine for people caught trespassing at the Haiku Stairs.