The area around Hyperion, a massive coast redwood known for being the tallest tree in the world, has been closed indefinitely to the general public to ensure its safety.

Despite not being reachable by any trails, the 380-foot tree lies deep within Redwood National Park and has drawn a large number of tourists since its height was “discovered” by two novice naturalists in 2006, which was made popular by bloggers, travel writers, and various websites since its discovery.

The National Park Service claims that bushwhacking off-trail into deep foliage by tree enthusiasts to reach Hyperion’s base has destroyed enough habitat to justify the area’s closure. Park officials said that on the route leading to the tree, trash, and human feces have previously been discovered, noting that anyone found near the tree, which is located in a restricted area of the park, will now be subject to a $5,000 fine and jail time.

Leonel Arguello, the park’s Chief of Natural Resources said, “The usage was having an impact on the vegetation and potentially the root system of the very tree that people are going there to visit, There was trash, and people were creating even more side trails to use the bathroom. They leave used toilet paper and human waste — it’s not a good thing, not a good scene.”

The park service’s website says people have damaged the base of the Hyperion tree in various ways and have prevented ferns from growing around the tree as a result of stomping and trampling. Because it is entirely off-trail and situated in an area with no mobile phone signal and scant GPS coverage, the climb to the tree is also exceptionally dangerous.

“If someone were to get hurt down there, it’d be a while before we could get to them and extract them,” Arguello added. These are all reasons why we’re playing it safe and protecting our resources.”

One reason the park hasn’t built a trail to Hyperion is that, according to Arguello, there’s a strong chance it won’t even remain the tallest tree for very long due to natural patterns of tree growth and decay.

Arguello said, “At some point, the top will blow out or some other tree will grow faster, and it won’t be the tallest tree. We don’t want to make yet another official trail that we have to maintain for a tree that likely won’t be the tallest tree in the future.”

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Sources: Dailywire, Kiro7, Olasmediatv

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