The world’s tallest tree, measuring 115.92 metres, is a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) named Hyperion, from the Redwood US National Park. The tree is not on any of the park’s official trails, but curious visitors still venture into the wild to try and find it, damaging the environment on their way. The park has now announced that those stubborn enough to venture of the trails can face up to 6 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Hyperion was discovered by a pair of naturalists in 2006, measured and declared by the Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest living tree. Park officials say that since its discovery, the tree has been on many tree-enthusiast’s bucket lists. It is located off trail through dense vegetation and requires heavy ‘bushwhacking’ to be reached.
As a visitor you must decide…Will you be part of the park’s preservation? Or part of the problem?Redwood National Park
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?”, reads a statement from the park.
The park wants visitors to be aware that the forest around Hyperion has been trampled and damaged by ill-informed hikers. Redwood roots are incredibly shallow, only reaching about 3.5 metres deep on average. Soil compaction due to trampling negatively affects these centuries-old trees.
A view of Hyperion doesn’t match its hype. It is far from the most impressive tree in the park.Redwood National Park
Officials also highlighted that, despite its reputation, Hyperion’s trunk is small in comparison to many other old-growth redwood trees and its height cannot be observed from the ground. There are hundreds of trees on designated trails that are more impressive to view from the tree’s base.
Park officials say that visitors are also leaving behind trash and human waste, which further affects the forest’s environment. Moreover, the trek to the tree is hazardous to hikers because it is completely off-trail and located in an area with no cell phone reception and spotty GPS coverage. A small injury could be dangerous since rescuing is impaired by the poor tracking possibilities.