Hikers remove Haiku Stairs swing, contracted crew brings down poles

As mysteriously as it appeared, it disappeared.

The Board of Water Supply hired a crew to take down the makeshift swing atop Haiku Stairs, a.k.a. Stairway to Heaven, but when they arrived Tuesday morning, the swing and chains were gone.

Turns out, hikers took it upon themselves to get rid of the dangerous swing Monday afternoon, providing photos to KHON2.

Some neighbors say this is an exception.

“Even though they trespassed, they’re trying to remove the safety hazard. That is good news. We appreciate that,” said Haiku Village resident Ray Cabrera.

haiku stairs swing comes down provided

But the large poles used to install the swing remained, and crews worked all day Tuesday to tear them down. The Board of Water Supply says they were part of an old Coast Guard facility.

(Editor’s note: Despite prior removal of the swing and chains, the Board of Water Supply still spent $23,000 to remove the poles, which covers the contracted crew and helicopter use.)

As the helicopter flew overhead, we noticed groups of hikers heading to the stairs.

“We hope there’s less draw. However, you have people like this morning, who didn’t know about the swing and just wanted to see the staircase,” said Haiku Village resident Ken Rose.

The Stairway to Heaven is under 24-hour surveillance.

The Board of Water Supply says hundreds trespass the stairs on a monthly basis. Manager and chief engineer Ernest Lau says the utility still wants to tear the stairs down.

“We understand there are supporters of the stairs, and people who want the stairs removed,” he said. “The Board of Water Supply is somewhat caught in the middle. We want everybody to provide their manao, viewpoints on the situation of Haiku Stairs.”

BWS has also been trying to transfer ownership of Haiku Stairs to another government agency, but “unfortunately we’ve been unsuccessful, so we’re moving with an environmental impact statement to allow us to look at the option of complete removal of the stairs,” Lau said.

Lau says the process will take one to two years.

Meanwhile, officials stress, the stairs are still illegal. Those caught face a $1,000 fine.

“If you go up, you may be cited with trespassing,” he warned. “We work closely with the Honolulu Police Department to issue citations.”

“We’ve had a District Court judge and prosecutors come to the base of the stairs and see how we have a guard and signs posted, and there’s also signs at the top. It’s illegal,” said Paul Epstein, BWS head of security.

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