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A Hike To The World's Tallest Tree Could Cost You $5,000 And Jail Time

You'll be fined if you go off trail in Redwood National and State Parks in search of "Hyperior."/Rebecca Latson file

You'll be fined if you go off trail in Redwood National and State Parks in search of "Hyperion." There are plenty of tall, and more striking, redwoods in the park, such as those found here in the Stout Grove/Rebecca Latson file

Too many people hoping to glimpse a closeup of what is considered the world's tallest tree, located in Redwood National and State Parks, have prompted the National Park Service to resort to a $5,000 fine and possible jail time to discourage the experience.

The problem is that there is no trail to "Hyperion," an old-growth redwood that soars to 380 feet above the forest floor, and so those who want to see it bushwhack across the landscape and in the process trample vegetation. Then there's the problem of folks relieving themselves in the forest and leaving behind TP and their waste.

"As a visitor you must decide…Will you be part of the park’s preservation? Or part of the problem?" the park asks on its website

"There is no trail to Hyperion. Hyperion is located within a closed area. Hiking within this closure could result in a $5,000 fine and 6 months in jail," the staff continued. "Since its 'discovery' in 2006, this tree has been on many tree-enthusiast’s bucket lists. Hyperion is located off trail through dense vegetation and requires heavy ‘bushwhacking’ in order to reach the tree. 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. 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?"

The many off-trail trekkers who have gone in search of Hyperion have damaged the tree's base in a bid for a photo/NPS file

And really, the staff adds, the tree isn't that impressive.

"A view of Hyperion doesn’t match its hype. Hyperion’s trunk is small in comparison to many other old-growth redwood trees and its height cannot be observed from the ground," the staff notes. "Please remember that flying drones and climbing redwoods is illegal, violators have and will be cited. There are hundreds of trees on designated trails that are more impressive to view from the tree’s base."

There is no trail to Hyperion, and the Park Service isn't planning to build one, because the title of tallest tree is fleeting.

"Redwoods in their lifespan frequently lose sections of their crown due to wind and lightening. Although they attempt to regrow, they never reach their initial height," the staff points out. "The title of tallest tree has changed many times over the years and likely will change again before a trail to the current tallest could be completed. Additionally, creating and maintaining a trail is an expensive operation, particularly to a tree and forest that does not rival the grandeur of Tall Trees Grove."

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History will not look kindly on this period of social media where 'influencers' try to outdue themselves with ever more dangerous or exclusive content.  This is yet another example of social media creating something that was not really a big deal before and is driving people that do not know how to respect the environment to find it.

DON'T GIVE IT A NAME.  This tree (or its predecessor) was featured in National Geographic Magazine years ago, but had no name.  Look what happened to "Delicate" Arch after it got a name.

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