California Eco-Tourists Trample Rare Wildflowers To Get Photos

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Eco-tourists are coming in droves to see rare wildflowers popping up in central California, but are trampling over the very flowers they came to admire.

The end of California’s multi-year drought spurred a “super-bloom” of wildflowers, that’s drawn record-setting crowds of tourists. But those same people have ended up trampling so many flowers, local officials closed hiking trails to save what’s left of the rare flora.

“[T]he state’s nature lovers are failing to follow some common sense rules related to enjoying the beauty and are trampling over the delicate flowers they have flocked to admire,” Leslie Eastman, who visited the super-bloom , wrote in the blog Legal Insurrection Saturday. “In other words, these special snowflakes are killing the flowers.”

The super-bloom is described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see flowers that laid dormant throughout a multi-year drought. Wildflowers such as desert asters, Parishes poppies, sand verbena, phacelia and lupine have all been blooming across California.

“The destruction has been so severe that specialists were brought in to assess the damage,” Mary Papenfuss, a trends reporter, wrote in The Huffington Post. “Plants killed and seeds crushed will have a significant effect next season. Some of the areas may be replanted.”

California’s no longer in drought, with only 9 percent in moderate or severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Gov. Jerry Brown rescinded the state of emergency order for most of the state, but kept in place some restrictions on water use.

Late last year, only 34 percent of California was drought-free, and 84 percent of the state was considered in a drought. The remaining 16 percent was labelled as abnormally dry.

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