Hyperion, the world’s tallest tree according to the Guinness World Records, is not open to visitors due to overuse.
California’s Redwood National Park issued a statement last week that any hikers found near the tree can face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to SFGate.
The 380-foot tall coast redwood has suffered environmentally from the damage to the forest floor and the base of the tree from the many people who have visited it since its discovery in 2006.
“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,” said Leonel Arguello, the park’s Chief of Natural Resources.
The tree is located in a remote, trail-less area of Redwood National and State Parks.
“Hyperion is located off trail through dense vegetation and requires heavy ‘bushwhacking’ in order to reach the tree,” reads a statement on the park’s website explaining why the tree is now off-limits.
“Despite the difficult journey, increased popularity due to bloggers, travel writers, and websites of this off-trail tree has resulted in the devastation of the habitat surrounding Hyperion,” the statement says. “As a visitor, you must decide if you will be part of the preservation of this unique landscape—or will you be part of its destruction?”
The area around the tree has limited cellphone and CPS service, Arguello told SFGate. That means it can be difficult should lost or injured hikers need rescue.
Additionally, visitors to the tree leave their garbage behind.
“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,” Arguello said.
Besides, naturalist and tour guide Justin Legge tells SFGate that a visit to Hyperion is not that awe-inspiring anyway, as there are redwoods in the forest that are easier to access.
“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.”
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