Honolulu city officials vote to remove 'Stairway to Heaven'

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Honolulu has set aside about $1 million for removal of the Haiku Stairs.
Honolulu has set aside about $1 million for removal of the Haiku Stairs. Photo Credit: HTA/Vincent Lim

HONOLULU (AP) -- Officials in Hawaii want a famed, off-limits stairway hike to be permanently closed.

The Honolulu City Council voted unanimously on Sept. 8 to remove the Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, Hawaii Public Radio reports.

The popular trail has been officially closed for decades, but people often trespass to bypass security measures and access the hike.

The city council voted unanimously in support of a nonbinding resolution that asks Honolulu mayor Rick Blangiardi to make the final decision to remove the stairway.

"Many do not realize the city does not own the lands that lead to the stairs, and it does not own all the lands under the stairs," said Esther Kiaaina, the council member introduced the resolution and represents the area of Oahu where the stairs are located. "After two decades, there is still no clear path forward to secure legal access."

She said the agency that oversees Native Hawaiian land does not want to grant access.

"The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has made clear that it is uninterested in allowing a managed access program on its lands -- including its lands under the stairs and its lands to access the stairs," Kiaaina said.

The city has set aside about $1 million for the stairs' removal.

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