Beware: World’s Tallest Living Tree Visitors Could Be Fined $5,000
Tourists hoping to visit the world's tallest living tree may be in for a rude awakening following a strict new policy.
California's Redwood National Park issued a notice last week informing the public that anyone caught near the famous Hyperion tree may face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
"Hyperion is located off trail through dense vegetation and requires heavy 'bushwhacking' in order to reach the tree," the national park's statement reads. "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 message continues: "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?"
Hyperion has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world's tallest living tree.
The giant redwood stands at 115.92 meters (380 feet) tall. Its name is derived from Greek mythology. One of the Titans, Hyperion is the father of sun god Helios and moon goddess Selene.
Hyperion is located deep in the park and has no suitable trails leading up to it, making it extremely hard to access.
Despite that, the tree has faced serious vandalism since 2006, when it was discovered by a pair of naturalists.
Chief of Natural Resources Leonel Arguello told the San Francisco Gate the area around the tree has extremely limited cellphone and GPS service, deeming it very difficult to rescue anyone who may get lost or injured near Hyperion.
In addition to erosion to the base of the tree, other issues arise with an influx of human visitors to Hyperion.
"There was trash, and people were creating even more side trails to use the bathroom," Arguello told the outlet, adding, "They leave used toilet paper and human waste — it's not a good thing."