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SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2019 – The Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) is inviting members of the public to comment on and to provide input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Haiku Stairs. The DEIS appeared in the June 23, 2019 issue of The Environmental Notice from the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC). Feedback from the community will be accepted until 11:59 PM HST on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.
News Release: Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Haiku Stairs will be Published on June 23 in the Environmental Notice
> SUBMIT A COMMENT
no later than 11:59 PM HST, Wednesday, August 7, 2019
The Haiku Stairs – also known as Stairway to Heaven – are comprised of 3,922 steps that extend from Haiku Valley to the ridge line of the Koolau Range and connects to a trail in Moanalua Valley. Originally built in the 1940’s by the U.S. Navy to access radio communications antennae facilities along the ridge line. The U.S. Coast Guard converted the facility into the Omega navigation station, which served an active facility from 1975 to 1991. In 1987, the Coast Guard closed the Haiku Stairs to the general public due to vandalism and liability concerns.
The land under and surrounding Haiku Stairs is currently owned by the BWS. The stairs also straddle the ridge lines of adjoining landowners, namely the City and County of Honolulu, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).
In 2005, the City renovated Haiku Stairs, with the intent of re-opening it to the public; however, legal access could not be established at the time. Haiku Stairs continues to remain off limits. Thus, contrary to posts found on social media, blogs, and various websites (hiking, travel, local activities, lifestyle, health and wellness, and general interest), there is no legal access to Haiku Stairs from any direction. Those attempting to reach the stairs face multiple counts of trespassing and risk endangering their lives and those of emergency first responders.
The Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board (AFDCB) declared Haiku Stairs as off limits to members of the Armed Forces. This restriction remains in effect indefinitely in accordance with established Armed Forces policy.
BWS spends approximately $250,000 annually for guard services at the base of Haiku Stairs and for special duty police officers to deter hikers from climbing them. The Honolulu police and fire departments also continue to absorb the costs of trespassing enforcement and rescue operations.
Haiku Stairs, as well as Kalihi Ice Ponds, Nuuanu Reservoir No. 4, and Waihee (Hamama) Falls, is located on watershed areas owned and/or managed by the BWS. Anyone attempting to reach these locations would be trespassing. Those issued a citation by the 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.
Residents and visitors may enjoy the beauty of the Hawaiian islands on one of the many legal hiking trails that are available to the public. For information about open trails and their current conditions, please visit the Na Ala Hele Trail & Access program website at https://hawaiitrails.org.