Illegal swing atop 'Stairway to Heaven' to be removed
KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An illegal swing at the summit of the forbidden Windward Oahu trail will be removed on Tuesday.
The announcement from the Board of Water Supply comes a day after a video posted on Facebook shows a woman nearly falling from the swing atop Haiku Stairs, also known as Stairway to Heaven.
BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau said in a news release said that the swing "creates an additional and dangerous attraction for thrill seekers and hikers and needs to be taken down."
A BWS contractor will be remove the swing, along with chains and poles that support the swing at a cost of $23,000.
The BWS has also assured Haiku Stairs proponents that only the swing, chains, and poles will be removed and the stairs will remain intact.
Vernon Ansdell, president of the non-profit group Friends of Haiku Stairs, said the swing was a recipe for disaster.
"It can get very wet up there, it can be raining, it can be very windy, and people when they get up there are gonna be tired. So you're setting the stage for something bad to happen," he said.
Ansdell said there are 3,922 steps to reach the summit, which is 2,820 feet high. The non-profit organization is trying to get the stairs reopened under a managed access program. The trail was closed in 1987, after a deadly landslide.
Although the trail is illegal, many people continue to hike it every day.
BWS said those who live near the area can expect to hear sounds from the helicopter that will be used to transport the workers to and from the work site, as well as retrieve the debris for disposal.
As a safety precaution, the BWS has arranged for the helicopter to avoid flying with a load over residential areas, open sections of the H-3 Freeway, or the Ke Kula 'o Samuel M. Kamakau Charter School.
Instead, the helicopter will fly over the Harano Tunnels that are protected by the Koolau Mountain.
"Since the BWS learned about the swing a few weeks ago, the agency has been working on plans to remove the items and obtaining necessary approvals and permits," BWS said Monday.
The BWS also said hiking Haiku Stairs and trespassing on watershed land are illegal. Violators who are caught can face fines as high as $1,000.
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