While it is great that people are eager to see the beauty that is Southern California’s record wildflower bloom, the visitors are wreaking havoc on the blossoms.
People are coming out in droves to snap photos, but they are trampling the flowers. They have caused so much damage that a section of one of the best wildflower trails in the Riverside area was temporarily closed to the public, The Huffington Post reports.
“We haven’t seen these kinds of crowds. Ever,” said Wendy Picht, an environmental specialist for the Metropolitan Water District that manages the area.
Thanks to all the rain California saw this year, the southern region is experiencing a “super bloom” of plants and flowers that were previously dormant due to the severe drought. The rare phenomenon is prompting visitors to stray away from the local walking trails to take photos, all the while crushing nature’s work of art in the process.
In addition to stepping on the flowers, visitors are also sitting on them, and even picking bouquets of them for social media photo ops, according to The Huffington Post.
A portion of the Wildflower Trail at Diamond Valley Lake was shut down last week and reopened on Wednesday with extra staff on site to monitor visitors’ activities and new signage warning people to remain on the designated trails.
“It happened sort of suddenly, people started disregarding the rules and trail guides,” Picht told the Los Angeles Times. “You can’t really blame them, but at the same time, we couldn’t allow that.”
Unfortunately, the damage has been done, and it’s expected that the plants that have been killed and the seeds that have been crushed will impact next year’s bloom.
“It’s upsetting to see the destruction,” environmental specialist Alex Marks told Los Angeles-based KPCC radio. “You can stand back and you can see the beauty of it without getting so close and trampling everything.”
The irony here is that people are blatantly disrespecting nature while attempting to appreciate and honor it through photos and social media posts — go figure!
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Mike Baird