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Adventure, Bridge, Forest

Demolition of Hawaii's Legendary Stairway to Heaven 🌺 ☁️

The Haiku Stairs, also known as the "Stairway to Heaven", on O'ahu, are one of the most popular attractions on the Hawaiian island. With their breathtaking views of Kāneʻohe Bay, they attract numerous visitors every year who dare to make the illegal climb, which can take up to five hours, to experience the spectacular nature and feel the adrenaline of adventure. But despite their popularity, the future of these iconic stairs is at stake due to their dilapidated state and the behavior of some tourists.

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The Haiku Stairs are a staircase with around 4,000 steps that stretches along the Ko'olau mountain range at a height of up to 2,821 feet. The stairs offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, but access is strictly prohibited.

It was built during World War II. At the time, it was not intended as a tourist attraction, but as access to a secret US Navy radio station. As early as 1987, the 3,922 steps were considered too dilapidated, which is why access was prohibited. The safety situation of the stairs worsened due to a storm in February 2024, which caused additional damage. The famous stairs have actually been considered "more dangerous than ever" since then, but that does not stop travelers from climbing them anyway. 188 people had to be rescued from the path between 2010 and 2022. Daredevils who are caught face a fine of at least $600 and, in some cases, prison sentences.

The voluntary organization “Friends of Haiku Stairs” has the mission to preserve the historic Haiku Stairs. They had originally planned to put the stairs back in place immediately and charge an entrance fee of around $100 for the effort. However, the repair work seemed too expensive for the height, which is why the stairs are always closed.

However, the stairs quickly gained popularity through social media and the series "Magnum PI", which is why the Honolulu City Council finally decided to demolish the stairs in 2021. The cost of the demolition work is approximately $2.5 million and will take around 6 months because of the behavior of the tourists. Planning for the demolition of the stairs began on April 22, 2024.

Despite the work and the strict ban, many people still visit the Haiku Stairs, which has recently led to several reports and warnings . In addition to the fact that visiting is a criminal offense, it is also very dangerous, according to the Honolulu District Mayor, because "It is an active construction site" where there is heavy machinery.

The “Friend of Haiku Stairs” have filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Honolulu to prevent the demolition of the stairs. The hearing of the lawsuit was scheduled for March 10, 2024, during which time the demolition work was paused, but according to the city administration, planning continued.

According to the current status, the court has decided against stopping the demolition. The reason given is that the stairs have no historical significance. The demolition work and planning will now continue.

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