“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,” the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve said in a Facebook post along with the hashtag #Don’tDoomTheBloom, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We were wrong.”
When a law enforcement official began to approach the pair, they ran back to the helicopter and fled.
Officers are watching for people illegally entering the park through barbed-wire fencing, trampling flowers. It only takes a few to wreck the habitat for years to come. There are areas in the Reserve that haven't recovered from trampling in 2017.#DontDoomTheBloom #CaStateParks pic.twitter.com/V3GcCE12ip— Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve (@PoppyReserve) March 18, 2019
Park officials also included a photo of the helicopter.
“Money buys arrogance and sense of entitlement and privilege,” one person wrote in response to the post, as angry comments flooded in, according to KTLA. “What it apparently doesn’t buy is common sense and decency.”
The super bloom — a phenomenon where wildflowers have bloomed at higher-than-normal rates after unusually heavy rains and favorable temperatures in Southern California — has been drawing throngs of visitors to parkland outside of Los Angeles for weeks.
Golden poppies, which are the state’s official flower and have turned arid fields into brilliant orange carpets of flowers, have been a particularly popular draw.
Officials recently had to close access to poppy fields in Lake Elsinore, Calif., an hour southeast of Los Angeles, after they were thronged with “Disneyland-sized crowds.”
“This is unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” the city’s mayor wrote in a post titled “POPPY PROBLEMS.” “We’re shorthanded. ... One of our employees was hit and run by a driver. A rattlesnake bit a visitor. Residents have been screaming at the people directing traffic.”
Park officials in Antelope Valley did not respond to a request for comment. They note on their website that the poppies open in the morning and curl up in the afternoon.
“Please remember, visitors must stay on OFFICIAL TRAILS only,” they write. “Photos in the flowers are not allowed in the park. Walking in the poppies creates dirt patches and may result in a ticket. DO NOT walk where others have already damaged the habitat; it will compound the damage and leave a scar for years to come.”
Allyson Chiu contributed to this report.