Violence erupts near Stairway to Heaven

The Stairway to Heaven remains one of the most popular trails in Hawaii, even though it’s closed to the public.

While the City figures out the trail’s future, one resident hopes an answer will come soon.

The resident, who lives near the trail, says a recent encounter with a group of hikers turned violent when he and his wife were assaulted.

Ken Rose said he and his wife, Regina, approached the hikers in the early morning hours of March 20 and he took pictures of the group.

“As we were taking pictures, they shouted verbal insults and then they came directly on my property,” said Rose. “They threatened us and, as we backed away, one shoved my wife. I pushed her back and then l was jumped by three other individuals… I was beat up. I was bruised, pushed to the ground, scrapes.”

Police have opened two assault cases and are also investigating possible criminal property damage. Rose said he is aiding in the investigation and will soon review a photo lineup of possible suspects.

Police said they do go after hikers for trespassing and hand out citations. Those caught have to go to court, because there is no fine attached to the citation.

While there may be more than a couple of ways to get to the stairway, the most popular is where the Roses live, a fenced-off roadway at the end of Kuneki St., because hikers can park their cars nearby. Even if they find a locked gate, they can still get through because there is a hole on the side of the gate.

Honolulu city council member Ikaika Anderson said he has been in discussions with the mayor to find a resolution for the stairway.

Anderson said he is looking at two options: Either reopen the stairway and provide a safe and secure access to prevent confrontations with residents, or remove the stairway entirely.

“You (must) be respectful, you (must) be quiet, and leave it the way you found it,” said Matthew Alexander, a hiker visiting from Seattle, Wash.

Rose, who is a member of his Neighborhood Security Watch, said his issue is not with the hikers. All he wants is a safe and secure neighborhood.

While discussions are ongoing at City Hall, there is no timeline on when a decision will be made to determine the future of the stairway.

Discussions will involve the three landowners at and near the stairway, the Board of Water Supply, which claims ownership of the stairway because it abuts a watershed, Kamehameha Schools, and the Hawaii Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL).

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