December 3, 2022
Tall Redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens), California

Tall Redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens), California

The giant 115.55-meter sequoia and its surroundings are not at all spared by tourists, and California has had enough.

Visitors to the world’s tallest tree could face fines or even jail in California after the evergreen Sequoia sempervirens and the surrounding forest was damaged by tourists who trample everything, The Guardian reported. The tallest known plant today, the 115.55-meter Hyperion in Humboldt Redwoods National Park, is not accessible from any hiking trails, but that has not deterred the crowds of hikers.

Leonel Arguello, the national park’s natural resource manager, says Hyperion was “discovered” by two naturalists in 2006. Since 2010, hikers have been turning out to see the estimated 800-year-old “old man” after bloggers and travel writers published its exact location. In 2019, it was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s tallest tree.

Sun shining in a Redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) forest, California
Sun shining in a Redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) forest, California

However, hikers cut their way through the dense undergrowth and the tree suffered damage from stepping on its roots. According to Arguello, the ferns around the tree have also disappeared as they have been trampled by visitors. In addition to the growing number of trails, the park manager also complained about littering.

He added that since there is no reception in the area, it would take a long time to call for help. This prompted the authorities to close the area. Violators of the ban could face a fine of five thousand dollars and up to six months in prison, Arguello stressed.

The park official also pointed out that visitors to Hyperion might be disappointed by the view, as only foliage can be seen from the bottom, but not the top.

In addition to its height and trunk diameter of up to 7-8 meters, the evergreen sequoia stands out for its age: some specimens are over two thousand years old.