Police monitoring illegal hiking at Haiku Stairs

Police monitoring illegal hiking at Haiku Stairs

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Haiku Stairs are a popular hiking spot.  Trouble is it's against the law to use them and police are citing people for trespassing.

Some frustrated homeowners have set up makeshift booby traps to keep people from trespassing on their property.  There is a security guard in the mornings who has been told to call police when he sees people trespassing.

A photo was taken yesterday showing Honolulu Police confronting a large group of hikers at the Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven.  The police presence is a welcome site to some people who live in the area.

"It's particularly a nuisance because the trespassers usually come in the middle of the night so it's good there is a lot more police presence around," said Rick Barboza, with Hui Ku Maoli Ola.

Rick Barboza took the picture.  He owns 12 acres and leases another 65 acres and repeatedly has trespassers coming onto his area.

"It would be good to let people know that there is going to be more police presence so I would take advantage of one of the other hikes that is state sanctioned and safer," said Barboza.

The stairs have been since 1987.  For years hikers have sought a solution to reopen them.

"It is such an incredible experience to be up there that people need to be able to do that but legally," said Vernon Ansdell, MD.

Dr. Ansdell also lives in the area and is on the working group trying to come up with some sort of compromise to find an access point where people won't go through private property to get to the stairs.

"The meetings are quite lively," said Dr. Ansdell "Clearly we have to do something. Right now things are escalating and they're out of control. We need to fix it."

The City, State and Kamehameha schools all own portions of the access area and all have a representative on the working group.  A recommendation is expected in October.  If a solution isn't found the other option could be removing the stairs.

"Hopefully it does not come to removing the stairs. I really don't want to see that happen, but if we can't come to a consensus I really don't think there is any other decision at this point," said Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilman, who has spearheaded the task force.

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