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Heaven inaccessible by stairs

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One of Oahu’s most sought after and illegal hikes, “Stairway to Heaven,” may be in jeopardy of being demolished and closed forever. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply, the agency in charge of the security of the area, has approved a $500,000 budget to study the demolition of the hike, also known as the Haiku Stairs.“I think it is kind of crazy they’re closing it. It isn’t nearly as dangerous as people think,” said Hunter Hancock, a freshmen studying business from Oahu. He continued, “It is published everywhere online as a reason to come to Hawaii and as one of the most amazing hikes in the world. They’re closing it just because it could be a bit dangerous.”According to Hawaii News Now, after a powerful storm on Feb. 14, the stairs became partially damaged and unusable. The article states after the storm damage, five hikers got stuck on the east side of the mountain’s ridge and were trapped overnight. The Honolulu Fire Department rescued them the following morning. A Big Island teen, Daylenn “Moke” Pua, went missing Feb. 27 on his way to climb the stairs. He has not been found.The water board is reportedly wrestling with how to proceed. It could either fix the stairs and make them user-friendly, or it will have to demolish them. Each option requires funding and support from the community and state. According to Hawaii News Now, the water board does not want to be in charge of the stairs anymore and are looking for someone to take over. “No matter what, it’s an awesome experience and gorgeous view. I think that to avoid anyone getting hurt they should maintain it. They should put money into it and avoid the bad publicity from it being illegal. Oahu survives off of its tourism industry. Keep everyone happy and allow them to do the hike,” said Bryan Hardisty, BYU-Hawaii alumni from California living in TVA. Some students said they believe the government is wasting money by making it illegal. They have a guard there full-time and the police often give tickets to hikers.“They are paying loads of money for the guards’ salaries alone who are monitoring for trespassers. If they would allocate their resources better and work to maintain the trail, they could increase tourism and make this beautiful experience available to all,” said Jordan Eror, a senior studying exercise science from Kailua. Chief Engineer Ernie Lau said, “the board spends $160,000 a year to pay for security guards in an effort to deter hikers. It’s money it would rather spend on its mission of safeguarding our water resource,” according to KITV.The trail was originally constructed in 1941 for the U.S. Coast Guard, and allowed access to the LORAN radio antenna at the top of the mountain. The stairs eventually became worn and dangerous, and the state closed the trail to the public in 1987.If no other government agencies come forward, the 3,922-step stairway could be demolished, says Hawaii News Now.The hike is an unique experience, said Eror, unlike anywhere else in the world. “These kinds of things should be maintained so more people can enjoy them safely.”Uploaded March 5,2015.
Writer: Trenton McCullough