Hiker arrested during Last Probability hike

The soap opera surrounding Oahu's Haiku Stairs – also referred to as the “Stairway to Heaven” – continues, whilst the famous landmark is dismantled.

According to a CNN affiliate, five people were arrested on April 23 and charged with first-degree trespassing Hawaii News Now.

The stairs were built by the US Navy during World War II as access to the Haiku naval radio station. Its 3,922 steps wind along a ridge to the summit of a 2,800-foot mountain in Kaneohe, offering incredible views.

It stays a tourist attraction despite being officially closed to visitors since 1987, and its popularity on Instagram and TikTok has attracted much more visitors.

Although there may be a trail from the Monalua Valley to the west, most hikers selected the much shorter route from the Ha'ikū Valley neighborhood in Kaneoahe, which involves traversing private property.

This increase in tourism — and the bad behavior that comes with it — were amongst the explanations cited when the Honolulu City Council voted to remove the steps in 2021.

In addition to the trespassing itself, neighbors complained of individuals parking in front of driveways, urinating in yards, using and running garden hoses, and causing disruption as early as 2 a.m. as they attempted to achieve the summit at sunrise. Even security guards and $1,000 fines had limited success in deterring visitors.

“Due to widespread illegal trespassing, the Haiku Stairs impose a significant burden and expense on the city and impact the quality of life of residents,” Council Member Esther Kiaʻāina told Hawaii News Now.

Earlier this month, local authorities announced demolition would begin on April 22, resulting in a flood of walkers taking a final opportunity to go to the positioning in recent days.

“Not only is the access illegal, but this is an active construction site,” said Honolulu PD District Major Randall Platt said Hawaii News Now. “There is heavy machinery. The helicopter swings back and forth, so it's inherently dangerous for people to be up there. It is a closed site. It’s a work environment.”

“The City was disappointed and dismayed to learn that so many people appeared to have recklessly disregarded clear warnings that the Haiku Stairs removal project had begun, putting themselves – and possibly first responders – in danger,” a Honolulu city official said a spokeswoman said in a press release.

The removal would require one 700-foot section to be transported by helicopter, a process that may cost town $2.5 million.

It has not yet been decided where the steps will lead after demolition. An area tourist attraction, Kualoa Ranch, has expressed interest in purchasing and housing them.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company. All rights reserved.

image credit : www.mercurynews.com