Spring has arrived in Southern California, and dedicated selfie-snappers have taken note. For the past month, the typically barren deserts of the region have been animated with flowers and tourists traveling to see them. The vibrant flora makes for an epic Instagram backdrop, but California park rangers are begging guests to stick to the trails and resist trampling flowers for the sake of a photo op, Mashable reports.
California’s current super bloom follows a winter of drought-ending rainfall. Thousands have visited places like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Walker Canyon, and the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve to see the rare display, but for some people appreciating the flowers from afar isn’t enough. Tourists hoping to snap the perfect photo are stepping, sitting, and laying down in the fields. In some cases, they’re doing damage that lasts for years.
Park officials have made it clear that the fragile flowers should be left alone. A post on the California Poppy Reserve’s Facebook page reads:
“If you walk off-trail because ‘everybody else is doing it,’ or because someone else already stepped on those plants, you're still part of the problem. Wild lands everywhere are experiencing unprecedented damage this year because tens of thousands of individuals want that one picture in the flowers.”
In response to the destruction, one section of the park’s wildflower trail has been closed for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, there are other places in the reserve to see the super bloom during the last few weeks of the season. And selfies are still permitted, given they're snapped from a reasonable distance.