Visitors to the world’s tallest tree face a $5,000 fine

California’s Redwood National Park issue a statement last week that anyone caught near the tree could face six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The tree, located deep in the park and with no trail leading to it, has faced severe environmental degradation from thrill-seekers who have been visiting since 2006, when it was found by a pair of naturalists.

The coastal redwood tree (sequoia sempervirens) is 115.92 meters (380 feet) tall and its name is derived from Greek mythology – Hyperion was one of the Titans and father of the sun god Helios and the moon goddess Selene.

Hyperion's body diameter is 4.84 meters (13 feet).

Hyperion’s body diameter is 4.84 meters (13 feet).

Stephen Moehle / Shutterstock

“Hyperion is off the beaten track through dense vegetation and requires heavy ‘busting’ to reach the trees,” a statement on the national park’s website reads.

“Despite the difficult journey, the growing popularity by bloggers, travel writers and websites of this forward-thinking tree species has resulted in the destruction of the habitat around Hyperion,” the statement said. father said. “As a visitor, you must decide whether you will be part of the preservation of this unique landscape – or will you be part of its destruction?”

Leonel Arguello, the park’s Director of Natural Resources, told the news site San Francisco Gate that the area has limited GPS and cell phone service, meaning it can be difficult to rescue any lost or injured hikers in the area.

In addition to erosion and damage caused at the base of trees, there are secondary problems that come from an influx of people.

“There’s a lot of trash cans, and people create trails next to them to use the bathroom,” says Arguello. “They leave behind used toilet paper and human waste – that’s not a good thing.” .

Humans are not the only threat to these giant trees.

Wildfires are a growing concern across California’s national parks.

In 2021, officials at Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon took extreme measures to protect some of the world’s largest trees from fire.

Hyperion tree image via Shutterstock

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