Hikers Are Now Banned from the World’s Tallest Tree
Redwood National Park officials cite damage visitors have caused to forest.
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You can no longer get your photo taken next to the world’s tallest tree—and that’s probably a good thing.
Officials at California’s Redwood National Park recently closed the area surrounding Hyperion, a massive 380-foot coast redwood that is believed to be the planet’s tallest living tree. Hyperion is located deep within the park and is not accessible by a trail. Still, visitors have bushwhacked pathways through the brush to visit the trail, and the uptick in tourists has caused damage to the surrounding area and to the tree itself.
SFGate.com reports that violators face a $5,000 fine and potential jail time if they are caught making the trip.
“The usage was having an impact on the vegetation and potentially the root system of the very tree that people are going there to visit,” Leonel Arguello, the park’s chief of natural resources, told the site. “There was trash, and people were creating even more side trails to use the bathroom. They leave used toilet paper and human waste—it’s not a good thing, not a good scene.”
Justin Legge, a naturalist and tour guide who operates in the area, told the site that seeing Hyperion is actually quite underwhelming when compared to some of the park’s other massive trees, such as Del Norte Titan and Grove of Titans.
“Hyperion is an extremely disappointing experience, and I doubt half of the people that have even tried to go there would want to go there if they truly understood the ecology of the forest,” Legge said.