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News & Updates
Go to: Final EIS | About Haiku Stairs | Hawaii Public Trail Options
MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2020 – Watch the recording of the public hearing and regular meeting of the board of directors for the Board of Water Supply. This meeting took place on Monday, April 27, 2020, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, during which the board members took up the issue of Haiku Stairs. The meeting was also shared via Facebook Live and on the BWS website. This meeting will also air on OLELO49 on the following dates:
The public was invited to provide written testimony regarding Haiku Stairs for a public hearing scheduled on Monday, April 27, 2020, prior to the regular board meeting for the BWS Board of Directors. PDFs of the written testimony received are listed below:
- By Email
- By Online Form
TESTIFY BY PHONE:
When the testimony call-in line is open for the public hearing or for each item on the regular meeting agenda, callers will be placed in queue and brought up to testify one at a time.
TESTIFY VIA VIDEO STATION:
A live video conference station is available in the lobby of the BWS main offices at 630 S. Beretania Street.
Testifiers may show up and register to testify by video. Face covering is required in order to enter the building (Emergency Order 2020-07). Social distancing guidelines will be observed and testifiers will be brought into the building one at a time.
TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 2020 – The Board of Water Supply’s (BWS) board members will take up the issue of Haiku Stairs at their April 27, 2020, board meeting.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on January 23, 2020, and the 60-day challenge period ended in March 2020. While the FEIS did provide a thorough analysis of the alternatives, the BWS’s preferred action is removal of the stairs. Chief Engineer and Manager Ernest Lau stated, “The BWS’s mission is to provide Oahu residents with a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply. Managing Haiku Stairs draws BWS staff, financial, and other resources away from our core mission to efficiently and effectively meet the water demand of our customers.”
BWS will be providing a number of options for submitting testimony. All testimony received in advance of the meeting will be posted at www.boardofwatersupply.com/haikustairs.
Board Chair Bryan Andaya stated, “We know that this is matter of great significance and interest for the community, and we want to ensure all those who wish to testify will be given the opportunity.”
In addition to offering video conferencing and call-in testimony, the board has moved the start time of the meeting from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm so the public can “attend” the board meeting by watching Facebook Live on the BWS Facebook page or on their website at: www.boardofwatersupply.com/haikustairs.
For questions regarding the board meeting or Haiku Stairs, please call Kathleen Pahinui at (808) 748-5319.
It is expected the board will take action at the April 27 meeting.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 2020 – The Final Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Ha‘ikū Stairs will be published on Thursday, January 23, 2020 by the Office of Environmental Quality Control in The Environmental Notice.
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 $2,000, 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.hawaii.gov/.