By Stacey Leasca
April 03, 2019
Stuart McCall/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Miley Cyrus took to Instagram to share a series of snaps from what appeared to be her latest photoshoot. The singer/actress looked predictably beautiful in the shots, which would have been beloved by fans if not for one thing: Cyrus posed on top of a Joshua tree. And that, in case you didn’t know, is a huge environmental no-no.

“Yucca brevifolia is a plant species belonging to the genus Yucca. It is tree-like in habit, which is reflected in its common names: Joshua tree, Yucca Palm, Tree Yucca, and Palm Tree Yucca. Joshua Trees only grow in one place on Earth- the Mojave Desert (southeast California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.) The root system of a Joshua tree is incredibly shallow,” the Instagram account JoshuaTreeHatesYou commented on the post.

It added, “Repeated abuse by tourists, (over three million visitors a year,) is slowly causing their demise, bringing them closer to being added to the endangered list. Joshua trees take roughly 60 years to mature, and can live up to 500+ years! The trunk consists of thousands of small fibers and lacks annual growth rings. Its top-heavy weight is a recipe for disaster due to its shallow roots.”

According to the group, posing like Cyrus, or hanging, climbing, sitting, swinging, standing, leaning, touching, hugging, supporting your yoga poses, or hanging hammocks on these trees will not only harm the tree but is also violating the law.

As the Desert Sun noted of the national park service rules, off-roading violations "related to wildlife, plants and natural or cultural features, carry a maximum penalty of $5,000 and/or six months in prison.”

"I admire Miley Cyrus so much but, as a community, the people of Joshua Tree have tried so hard to educate the general public about the desert and Joshua trees, specifically and this just feels like a monumental setback," Susan Burnett, who manages Mojave Sands hotel in downtown Joshua Tree, told the Desert Sun. "There is no way to erase the idea her image presents that climbing these endangered plants is cool. I’m counting on her to help make this right and use her platform to help us preserve these ancient beauties.”

Oh, and don’t think you’re better off by posing with a dead Joshua Tree as that too becomes a habitat for local critters.

Beyond all the environmental damage, the JoshuaTreeHatesYou account noted one more thing — the post isn’t even original.

“You are NOT the ONLY person thinking it may be a ‘good idea’ to use a Joshua tree as an Instagram photo prop,” it said. “Please delete this photo so other tourists don't get the wrong idea and mimic your damaging behavior.”

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