California officials have a message for people eager to see a rare wildflower bloom: Please don’t land your helicopter on our poppy fields.
Park officials with the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve said a pair of visitors set a helicopter down Monday amid the fields of orange blossoms and then proceeded to walk around.
“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.
“We were wrong.”
More on the super bloom:
A couple landed the helicopter and walked out onto the fields of flowers, the park said. When a law enforcement officer began approaching, the pair ran back to the chopper and flew away.
Staff members are working to identify the helicopter and its pilot, said Russ Dingman, a spokesman for the reserve.
“This could have been a serious incident. Luckily no one was injured,” he said.
Many of the state’s massive wildflower blooms run the risk of being destroyed by visitors. Last week, Lake Elsinore closed access to its poppy fields in Walker Canyon after throngs descended on the delicate blooms.
Officials are trying to get the word out with a #DontDoomtheBloom campaign to combat visitors who are abusing the rules.
State parks officials told CNN that visitors have been entering the park through barbed wire fencing, stepping on and even lying down on the flowers, just to get a good selfie – destroying the very thing they came to see in the process.
“It only takes a few to wreck the habitat for years to come,” the reserve said on Twitter.
Contributing: Los Angeles Times via Tribune Content Agency, The Associated Press
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