News & Updates
Haiku Stairs—also known as "Stairway to Heaven" and is comprised of 3,922 steps—was originally built by the U.S. Navy in the early 1940s to access its communications facilities along the ridgeline of the Koolau Mountains above Haiku Valley. The U.S. Coast Guard converted the Navy's communications facilities to its Omega navigation facility in 1975, and opened Haiku Stairs to the general public. But, in 1987, due to vandalism and liability concerns, the Coast Guard closed Haiku Stairs to the public.
In 2005, the City and County of Honolulu renovated Haiku Stairs, but legal access to Haiku Stairs has not been established, leading to trespassing and illegal access. The Board of Water Supply (BWS) spends approximately $170,000 annually for guard services at the base of Haiku Stairs to keep hikers from climbing them.
The land under and surrounding Haiku Stairs is owned by the City for the use of the BWS. Haiku Valley water sources provide about 1.8 million gallons per day of drinking water to Kaneohe and Maunawili. But, these sources are located on a separate parcel of land from the Haiku Stairs parcel. Thus, BWS has no plans to develop new sources on the Haiku Stairs parcel.
Haiku Stairs is located on one of several watershed properties owned and/or managed by the BWS such as Nuuanu Reservoir No. 4, Waihee (Hamama) Falls, and Kalihi Ice Ponds. Trespassing on these properties is a criminal offense.
Under the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 708-815, those who are issued a citation by the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) are required to make a court appearance and may face fines up to $1,000, community service, and/or up to six months in prison.
BWS is in the process of preparing an extensive environmental impact statement (EIS) on Haiku Stairs, the lands impacted by Haiku Stairs, as well as the surrounding community. The public will be able to comment on and provide input to the EIS through the community outreach and public commentary period that is part of the EIS process. Information about the EIS will be posted in the News & Updates section on the BWS website when it is released.
Oahu residents and visitors may enjoy the beauty of our islands on one of the many legal hiking trails that are available to the public. More information on public trails throughout the State of Hawaii may be found online at: https://hawaiitrails.org.