FHS Candidate Questionnaire Responses
Many Haʻikū Valley residents are rightfully concerned about trespassing by hikers illegally accessing the Stairs. Trespassing is entirely a government-created problem caused by closing off access. When the Stairs were open to the public under the Coast Guard, trespassing was virtually nonexistent. Moreover, spending millions to remove the Stairs will not end trespassing. The City plans to leave behind the anchor pillars underneath the Stairs, providing a ready-made scaffolding that will encourage climbers to attach ropes and scramble to the summit. More effective solutions to trespassing merit exploration: As an interim measure, barriers could exploit natural chokepoints along the Stairs’ steep terrain. Combined with community-driven policing and smart technology, trespassing could be curtailed cheaply and effectively. The longer-term solution would be to reopen the Stairs, providing public access that alleviates the incentive to trespass and generates revenue to pay for ongoing security. What is your opinion of these cost-effective, public-private solutions to address trespassing?
To FHS, Hawaiians have been experiencing this kind of thing for years. My hesitancy in reopening the stairs would be watershed, invasive species, and most importantly the residents at the base of the stairs. Trespassing will always be an issue because the nature of mankind is to break law instead of obeying it. In my opinion reopening the stairs is the second best alternative because a standard has already been set and removing the stairs will only give trespassers a greater dare. With a proper management plan things can work but the the long term effort must match the long term plan. Trespassing laws and consequences must still be stringent.
The Ha‘ikū Stairs— aka “Stairway to Heaven”— originally built in the 1940s, is an iconic structure that has been used by visitors and residents as a safe way to ascend the Windward Ko‘olau peaks. The City intends to demolish this landmark soon. Stairs supporters and the majority of O‘ahu voters polled agree that the City should explore managed access alternatives before proceeding. What is your opinion?
It may be safe for a hiker but not for me even though I've always wanted to try it. I immediately have questions. Why now after all these years? Hasn’t FHS been the ones caring for it all this time? Do they plan to remove stairs and leave posts as mentioned in question one? Is the EIS complete and what does it say? Is there another agenda? Has the time limit for alternatives run out? I don’t know everything involved but common sense says again let’s examine any alternatives before the fact. For FHS this might not be a good thought but do you think this decision might make the residents happy?
The surrounding land abutting the Ha‘ikū Stairs is owned entirely by state entities, including the H-3 access road. This road had been used to access and maintain the Stairs, but it is currently closed. The BWS 2019 Environmental Impact Statement recommended using the H-3 access road to provide public access to the Stairs, which would bypass residential neighborhoods. Other community groups have also expressed an interest in using the H-3 access road. For example, the road was listed as a potential bike path on the City & County of Honolulu’s 2012 Bicycle Master Plan. What are your views on opening the road to public use?
City and county again, where it can’t be done because it makes too much sense. It seems the answer is in the question. The access road can provide a centralized location and give the management entity better control of what goes on. The main question is, what is the best possible outcome for the few residents living near the base of the stairs? Revenue is last because it will be the natural result of doing things right. We should always examine the results of our decisions before we make them. I do believe that even if the access road is made available, there should be a plan to curb trespassing.