News & Updates
The Haiku Stairs are comprised of over 4,000 steps that extend from Haiku Valley (400 feet elevation) to the ridge line of the Koolau Range (2,820 feet elevation) and connects to a trail in Moanalua Valley. The Haiku Stairs resides on Parcel TMK: 4-6-15:011 owned by the City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply, but also straddles the ridgelines of adjoining landowners, namely the City and County of Honolulu, DHHL and DLNR.
BWS is conducting a boundary survey to verify the location of the stairs to underlying properties. BWS acquired the vertical portion of the amphitheater shaped Haiku Valley from Bishop Estate as a single lot through condemnation in 1958 for water development purposes. BWS developed the Haiku Well on the Kahuku side of the valley and the H-3 Freeway construction subsequently split it into two parcels, TMK: 4-6-015:001 and 4-6-015:011.
Originally built of wood in the 1940’s by the U.S. Navy to access radio communications antennae facilities along the ridgeline, Haiku Stairs was replaced with stainless steel stair modules in the late 1950’s. In 1975, the U.S. Coast Guard converted the facility into the Omega navigation station until it terminated operations in 1991. Since 1987, the Haiku Stairs has remained closed to the general public due to vandalism and liability concerns.
In 2005, the City refurbished the Haiku Stairs with the intent of formally re-opening it for public use while the City worked to secure legal access. BWS began the process of transferring the Parcel and stairs to the City because water sources were already developed on the Kahuku side of the valley and the City Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was poised to take over operation and maintenance responsibilities. Unfortunately, the City Council did not approve the property transfer from BWS to DPR. BWS continues to pay for security to keep trespassers off the stairs and HPD and HFD continue to absorb the costs of trespassing enforcement and rescue operations.
The mission of BWS is to provide safe, dependable and affordable water now and into the future. Maintenance and operations of the Haiku Stairs does not support the BWS mission.
The Haiku Stairs provides scenic vistas of the Koolau and Kaneohe Bay, however, in its current condition, it is a liability for BWS and adjoining ridgeline landowners because of hikers who ignore posted no trespassing signs and continue to illegally climb Haiku Stairs. Risk of injury, harm, or death is a concern. In 2015, BWS began to assess options to either remove the structure or potentially convey the land to another responsible entity to assume ownership of the parcel. This environmental review will formally assess these options and their range of environmental impacts to then inform BWS and the community as to what the future of Haiku Stairs should be.
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