Friday, March 29th 2019, 12:24 pm - This is why we can't have nice things.
A wet winter has caused poppies to blossom across southern California, creating a 'super bloom' that has attracted hoards of tourists.
At some reserves, visitors are waiting up to an hour to get in.
Now, wildlife officials have been left scrambling to keep the area in-tact after thousands of people ventured off designated paths and directly into the flower fields, trampling and destroying them.
Several visitors have posted photos on social media. In many of them, they do not appear to be on a clearly-designated path but rather, in the midst of the flowers.
On Monday, a helicopter illegally landed in one of the delicate fields.
Officials asked the helicopter to leave, which it did. According to CNN, the incident remains under investigation and the two people involved may be fined.
“We never thought it would be explicitly necessary to state that it is illegal to land a helicopter in the middle of the fields and begin hiking off trail in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve,” officials said in a Facebook post along with the hashtag #Don’tDoomTheBloom, which is being used to re-enforce rules.
“We were wrong.”
People are also using the hashtag to call out those who have vandalized the area.
Last week, Lake Elsinore closed access to its poppy fields in Walker Canyon after tourists swarmed it.
"Officers are watching for people illegally entering the park through barbed-wire fencing, trampling flowers. It only takes a few to wreck the habitat for years to come," reads a Twitter post by the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.
"There are areas in the Reserve that haven't recovered from trampling in 2017."
THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME SELFIE-SEEKERS HAVE RUINED FLOWER FIELDS
In late July, more than 7,000 cars showed up at the Bogle Seeds sunflower farm in Flamborough, Ontario. Tourists trampled flowers, littered the ground and caused so much traffic congestion that the police had to get involved.
The farm has since closed its doors to the public.