(CNN) — Why wait like everyone else in traffic to see the spectacular super bloom in California? A brazen pair decided to skip the lines and helicoptered into the popular Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.
Officials stressed that it’s illegal to land helicopters in the poppy reserve.
A helicopter is spotted at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Monday.
Visitor to Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
Officials at Southern California parks have been trying to protect delicate wildflowers from being trampled by overzealous visitors this season.
The helicopter landed around noon Monday, said Jorge Moreno, a California State Parks information officer. When a ranger arrived to talk to them, the two people took off in the helicopter.
When asked if there would be any fines or consequences for the pair, Gloria Sandoval, deputy director of public affairs for the California State Parks said: “At this point, it’s under investigation.”
This shot by WorldView-2 satellite shows a long line of cars along the roads leading to the Walker Canyon trailhead.
The wildflower super bloom is so popular, they’re being overrun and trampled by visitors. Faced with traffic jams, crushed flowers and overflowing public toilets, authorities earlier this month temporarily closed access to Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore to the swarms of tourists who flocked there to take the perfect Instagram picture of those bright orange poppies.
People visit a ‘super bloom’ of wild poppies blanketing the hills of Walker Canyon on March 12, 2019 near Lake Elsinore, California. Heavier than normal winter rains in California have caused a ‘super bloom’ of wildflowers in various locales of the state.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve has also seen large crowds with visitors waiting about 30 minutes to over an hour to get in.
State parks officials have been telling the hordes of visitors to stay on designated trails and to stop picking and stomping the flowers to get a photo. They’ve been emphasizing the rules on social media using the hashtag #DontDoomTheBloom. Authorities say people are even illegally entering the park through barbed wire fencing and crushing the flowers. “It only takes a few to wreck the habitat for years to come,” it said on Twitter.
“You can see the damage to the part of the trail where people stepped off,” Moreno said. “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.”
CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore contributed to this report.