Crackdown on hikers at Haiku Stairs
Scofflaws risk fines of up to $1,000 by hiking an off-limits area known to many as the Stairway to Heaven.
HONOLULU - At midday Tuesday you could see about a half a dozen hikers on the Haiku Stairs.
It was a beautiful day to get out in the outdoors but being up there when it's supposed to be off limits is risky business.
Those who live and work in this area say while hikers may have snuck by the private security guards on the way up, sometimes police are waiting for them on the way down.
Resident Laredo Muredo saw police here just the other day.
"They come in multiples not just one at a time. They buzz up here two or three on that street, one on this street because they not sure where the hikers will come down," said Muredo.
Muredo should know, he used to work as a security guard for the city and has hiked the trail over.
The Board of Water Supply said last year police cited 328 people for trespassing and arrested five people.
The City Prosecutors Office said criminal trespass in the second degree carries a $1000 fine and even simple trespass cases the judge has the discretion to hand down fines of up to a thousand dollars.
In 2014 the city arrested 6 people and cited 135.
The latest lures to hike the stairs is drone video that people are posting on social media.
"It's the misinformation that's the worst part of it," said John Flanigan.
The Friends of Haiku Stairs is lamenting the world wide exposure because Flanigan believes facts are being distorted.
Flanigan doesn’t buy that the hike is as treacherous as some make it out to be, though he understands liability is a concern.
"The Board of Water Supply is in a tough spot actually,"
The Friends used to regularly be allowed to do simple maintenance and clearing of invasive plants,but not anymore.
"They want someone to take it off their hands. I can understand that. Failing that, they are planning to tear it down," Flanigan said.
An environmental impact study is underway, but Flanigan is hoping the outcome goes their way.
"We are kind of hopeful the EIS will say it shouldn't be torn down, its too important," Flanigan said.