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The Downside of the California Super Bloom: Why Going Off-Trail Violates Not Leave No Trace

When California experiences a lot of rain, from late February through May, wildflowers burst into bloom, painting the hills and valleys with vibrant shades of orange, purple, and yellow. It's an incredible sight to see, but unfortunately, it's also attracting visitors some of which are not practicing Leave No Trace principles.

The problem is that many people are going off-trail to get a closer look at the flowers. They're trampling on delicate plants, disturbing wildlife, and damaging the ecosystem. This may seem like a harmless act, but the consequences are severe. The damage done by just one person may take years to recover, and if thousands of people are doing the same thing, the impact can be devastating.

Not only that, but going off-trail can be dangerous. The areas around trails are often the safest places to hike, as they've been cleared of brush and other obstacles. Going off-trail can lead to accidents, such as falls, and can also put hikers at risk of getting lost.

So, what can we do to help preserve the super bloom and protect the environment? 

Here are a few tips:

  1. Stay on the trail: This may seem obvious, but it's important to stay on designated trails. Trails are designed to protect the environment, and they also help keep hikers safe.
  2. Don't pick the flowers: It's tempting to pick the flowers to take home as a souvenir, but doing so is harmful to the environment. Picking flowers can reduce the plant's ability to reproduce and can also disrupt the ecosystem.
  3. Take only pictures: Instead of picking the flowers, take pictures to remember your trip. This is a great way to share your experience with others while also protecting the environment.
  4. Leave no trace: Always pack out what you pack in. This means taking all your trash with you, and not leaving anything behind, including food scraps or other waste.

California super bloom is a beautiful sight, but it's important to remember that going off-trail is not Leave No Trace. By staying on the designated trails, not picking the flowers, taking only pictures, and leaving no trace, we can help preserve the environment for future generations. Let's all do our part to protect this natural wonder and ensure that it remains a beautiful and sustainable attraction for years to come.