Hawaii’s “Stairway to Heaven” Could Reopen

Potential hiker fee revenue would reopen trail.

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Friends of the Haiku Stairs say fees for hiking could reopen the “Stairway to Heaven” trail in Hawaii.

Officially known as the Haiku Stairs, the “Stairway to Heaven,” built during World War II and closed in the 1980s, is a 3,922-step metal staircase that climbs the side of the Koolau mountain range on the eastern side of Oahu.

Vernon Ansdell and John Goody of the Friends of Haiku Stairs said Thursday the organization is considering charging fees for hikers, which they will propose to agencies in charge of the trail—the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. With the revenue, park maintenance could realistically maintain the trail and staircase.

Hawaii residents would pay between $5 and $20, and tourists would pay $100.

“If you could see the emails we get, people from around the world and Oahu are truly begging us to come and hike the stairs, Ansdell said, noting that other world attractions charge similar fees.

The potential cost and revenue analysis by the Friends of Haiku Stairs predicted that if 100 people hiked the stairs per day, they would bring in $1.7 million—almost triple what the estimated expenses are for repairs, insurance and property taxes, which are projected to be $655,000.