Couple Under Investigation for Landing Helicopter on a Poppy Field During California Super Bloom
“We never thought it would be explicitly necessary to state that it is illegal to land a helicopter in the middle of the fields.”
California is once again experiencing a super bloom of, well, super proportions. Though the sight of stunning orange poppies is certainly enticing, the hoards of tourists flocking to — and sometimes trampling — the flowers are becoming an issue. However, those tourists have nothing on the couple who decided to skip the line and land their helicopter on the flowers instead.
As CNN reported, a helicopter landed right inside the popular Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. According to Jorge Moreno, a California State Parks information officer, the helicopter landed around noon on Monday. A ranger approached the couple, however, they quickly took off in their helicopter to evade the confrontation. Officials stressed to CNN that the act of landing a helicopter there is illegal.
“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 wrote in a Facebook post, the Los Angeles Times reported. “We were wrong.”
Gloria Sandoval, deputy director of public affairs for the California State Parks, told CNN the incident was under investigation.
Unfortunately, the helicopter isn’t the only issue. According to local authorities, visitors are getting wildly aggressive when it comes to seeing the flowers in person. Though officials have asked visitors to remain on designated pathways people seem to be largely ignoring the order. Instead, CNN noted, people are entering the park illegally through barbed wire fencing, stepping on the flowers, and lying down in the beds all to take a photo for social media.
“You can see the damage to the part of the trail where people stepped off,” Moreno told CNN. “People are taking selfies with the flowers or laying on the flowers and that's where the flowers won't grow back because so many people are stepping off the trail.”
To help combat the issue, officials are attempting to make preservation go viral with the hashtag, #DontDoomTheBloom.
“Officers are watching for people illegally entering the park through barbed-wire fencing, trampling flowers,” the reserve wrote on Twitter. “It only takes a few to wreck the habitat for years to come. There are areas in the Reserve that haven't recovered from trampling in 2017.”