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Visitors to world’s tallest tree face $5,000 fines

Redwood National Park in California released a statement last week that anyone caught near the tree faces up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The tree, which sits deep in the park and has no trails leading to it, has faced severe environmental degradation from thrill seekers who have visited it since 2006, when was discovered by two naturalists.

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

Hyperion’s trunk diameter is 4.84 meters (13 ft).

Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock

“Hyperion is located off-trail through dense vegetation and requires heavy ‘bushwhacking’ to reach the tree,” read a statement on the national park’s website.

“Despite the difficult journey, the growing popularity due to bloggers, travel writers and websites of this off-road tree has resulted in the devastation of the habitat surrounding Hyperion,” the statement read. “As a visitor, you have to decide if you will be part of preserving this unique landscape – or will you be part of destroying it?”

Leonel Arguello, the park’s natural resources chief, told the San Francisco Gate news site that the area has limited cell phone service and GPS, which means it can be very difficult to rescue hikers. lost or injured in the area.

In addition to erosion and damage to the base of the tree, there are secondary issues that come from an influx of people.

“There was trash and people were creating even more side paths to use the bathroom. They leave used toilet paper and human waste behind – that’s not a good thing,” Arguello said.

Human visitors aren’t the only risk to these giant trees.

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

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

Hyperion tree image via Shutterstock


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