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latest news California is trying to make the world’s tallest tree invisible

It seems difficult to hide the tallest tree in the world. But that’s exactly what officials at Redwood National Park in California have been trying to do since 2006.

Now the 380-foot-tall redwood is officially banned. In a statement Last week, the park wrote that any visitor caught nearby could face six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

For 16 years, the park refused to publish the location of the tree in order to protect it. They feared that too many visitors to the site would damage it and the delicate ecology of its surrounding slopes.

The coast redwood (sequoia sempervirens) is estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old. Named Hyperion after the Greek Titan god of celestial light, it sits at the bottom of the park and has no trails leading to it, but its internet fame has made it a frequent destination for thrill seekers, travel bloggers and tree lovers. People are fascinated by the size and secrecy of Hyperion. Over the years, it’s been the subject of hundreds of Reddit threads.

“Give me $7 million and a plane and I’ll find it,” one netizen said.

“It would be so epic to climb it and look out,” said another.

One disturbing comment reads: “Think of all the napkins we could make out of this thing! Gotta find it!”

Given Hyperion’s off-trail location, hikers must traverse dense vegetation and brush to reach it, the statement said. This causes irreversible damage to the environment. People leave trash, human waste, create side paths and trample the area around the tree. Some even bring drones or attempt to climb Hyperion. The result is degradation of the base of the tree and an abnormal lack of vegetation around it. Increased foot traffic also causes soil compaction, damaging the tree’s shallow roots.

“A single visitor can bring a drastic negative change to an environment,” the statement said. “While you may feel like you have no impact, many people making a small change create a lasting and devastating effect.”

Visits to Hyperion are also dangerous for visitors. The area has limited cell reception and GPS coverage making it very difficult to rescue lost or injured hikers.

Also, according to the park’s statement, Hyperion isn’t the most impressive tree in the area and doesn’t live up to its hype. The trunk is small compared to other old redwoods and it is impossible to observe its height from the ground.

“There are hundreds of trees on designated trails that are most impressive to view from the base of the tree,” the statement read.

The park is doing everything it can to keep human visitors out of Hyperion, especially now that wildfires pose a threat to old trees that is much more difficult to deal with.

The park’s statement leaves readers with a choice: “You must decide if you will be part of preserving this unique landscape – or will you be part of destroying it?”

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