Most Read

News

Native Hawai'ian Slams TikTokers For Climbing Sacred Stairs That Are Closed To The Public

@camilleslagle/TikTok

Travel restrictions due to the pandemic hit the tourism industry hard during the past year.

While certain parts of the world are cautiously lifting travel restrictions, many locals seem to appreciate visitors to help stimulate their economy.

But one native of Hawaii is having a difficult time welcoming certain tourists to her homeland, and for good reason.

Hawai’ian TikToker Camille Leihulu admonished a popular TikToker for making a video with friends showing them trespassing on the sacred Haʻikū Stairs, also known as the “Stairway to Heaven.”

@camilleslagle

#duet with @sofmcmillan yes, she acknowledged it’s an old video, but think of the thousands more who’ve done this. DON’T DO IT. #hawaii


The stairs are a steel structure built on the island of O’ahuwere in the 1940s. It is comprised of nearly 4,000 steps and was used to access the island's former U.S. Navy communication facilities along the ridgelines.

Public access has been restricted since 1987 due to vandalism and liability concerns. That hasn't deterred tourists from exploring though.

Trespassing has increased due to social media users sharing illegal directions to the stairs and posting panoramic pictures and videos of the vista.

Leihulu wrote in the clip, "Hawaiians and Hawai'i residents pay thousands in taxes to rescue people who get stuck up there."

"I've never been up these stairs to see this view, and I never will because I have respect for Hawai'i and my homelands."
“Why do outsiders get to blatantly ignore laws and rules and do as they please without facing any repercussions or acknowledging the consequences that Hawaiians have to deal with as a result of their actions?”

In the post caption, she acknowledged the video of the offending TikToker was not recent footage, but she said, "think of the thousands more who've done this. DON’T DO IT."

Her post was met with some resistance.

@camilleslagle/TikTok

@camilleslagle/TikTok

@camilleslagle/TikTok

Other users sensing the casual racism and entitlement in the comments came to her defense.

@camilleslagle/TikTok

@camilleslagle/TikTok

@camilleslagle/TikTok

@camilleslagle/TikTok


@camilleslagle/TikTok

Leihulu responded to those minimizing her concern.

@camilleslagle/TikTok

Many of the comments continued sharing her frustration.

@camilleslagle/TikTok

@camilleslagle/TikTok

@camilleslagle/TikTok

In June 2021, Councilmember Esther Kiaʻāina authored a resolution to remove the Haʻikū Stairs to stop trespassing and to help protect local neighborhoods and the environment from disturbances.

The Councilmember told Hawaii News Now:

“Due to rampant illegal trespassing, Haiku Stairs is a significant liability and expense for the city, and impacts the quality of life for nearby residents."

Among the complaints from residents of Haiku Valley were hikers parking their cars and blocking private driveways, hikers turning on private water hoses to drink water from and rinsing themselves without turning it off and hikers "relieving themselves in the streets against private rock walls, or in other private areas."

The resolution stated the removal of the stairs would increase public safety by ending disturbances in local neighborhoods and eliminating emergency assistance for injured or stuck hikers.