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You'll now be fined $5k for getting too close to the world’s tallest tree

Tree huggers will have to focus on other redwoods.

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

California's Redwood National Park has issued a restraining order to the world: Stay away from Hyperion, the world’s tallest living tree or else be fined $5,000 and spend up to six months in jail.

Why the alarm? Hyperion has seen serious damage from people visiting it since 2006 when it was first discovered.

This goddess of a tree is 380 feet tall and has no trails leading to it, so anyone going to pay respects (although the visits were not respectful) had to bushwhack and destroy vegetation on their way to find it. The Redwood National Park staff has had enough of this and made an official statement that anyone in the area around the tree faces legal and financial repercussions. Five GPS points mark the forbidden circumference surrounding Hyperion; see the official statement for more information.

As for those who think, ‘I’m just one person,’ the park’s statement makes clear that thousands of people think the same thing! ‘Forests grow by the inch and die by the foot. A single visitor can make a drastic negative change to an environment,’ reads the statement. Hikers going off-trail trample understory plants, disrupting the fragile ecosystem of the redwood forest. These massive redwoods have shallow roots as well, and hikers can thoughtlessly affect the safety of the trees they claim to love.

Funnily enough, park staff even point out that Hyperion’s not that great: ‘A view of Hyperion doesn’t match its hype... its height cannot be observed from the ground...there are hundreds of trees on designated trails that are more impressive.’ (And just in case you’re thinking of ways to better get a handle on its height, flying drones and climbing other redwoods is illegal). Instead, check out the list of other hikes that will give spectacular views of these behemoths.

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