Could a fee be the way to reopen Haiku Stairs? One nonprofit thi - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Could a user fee be the way to reopen Haiku Stairs? One nonprofit thinks so

The Friends of Haiku Stairs says charging a fee to hike the famous stairway could be the way to re-open the attraction. Image source: Wikimedia Commons The Friends of Haiku Stairs says charging a fee to hike the famous stairway could be the way to re-open the attraction. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Friends of Haiku Stairs thinks charging a fee to climb the Stairway to Heaven could generate $1.7 million in annual revenue -- and justify the re-opening of the hiking spot closed off since 1987.

"I can guarantee people would pay," said Friends member Vernon Ansdell.

The Friends of Haiku Stairs proposes charging Hawaii residents $5 to $20 to hike the stairs and tourists $100.

"I don't think there's anywhere else in Hawaii where you can see an ahupuaa laid out in front of you like that," Ansdell said.

The fees would pay for maintenance and insurance, he said.

But Haiku resident Ken Rose and his neighbors aren't on board with the idea.

"How does an entity secure all the unauthorized routes up to the mountain?" he asked.

Ansdell said fee revenues would pay for around-the-clock security to prevent trespassers from cutting through neighborhoods, as they do now.

"It'll solve that problem overnight," Ansdell said. "People will find if they try and get in illegally they will get caught, they will get fined, and they won't get onto the stairs."

Rose isn't convinced.

"Why should I pay for something that I can do free with little risk?" he said.

The Board of Water Supply owns some of the land where the stairway is located.

Ansdell said the agency needs to transfer ownership to give the fee idea a chance.

"It's an opportunity for people to have cultural, educational and recreational experience," he said.

TIME magazine recently highlighted the stairs in a healthy living article. And Honolulu magazine's November issue calls it an endangered historic site.

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