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Sun Apr 14, 2019, 07:04 PM

Instagrammers Are Killing This Field Of Poppies

Source: VICE News

Instagrammers Are Killing This Field Of Poppies

VICE News
Published on Apr 13, 2019

The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve has a few rules: Don’t bring your dog to the park, don’t eat food along the trail, and don’t fly drones overhead. The most important? Stay on the trail. But during this season’s super bloom, a semi-rare outbreak of golden poppies in spring, staff at the reserve have had a difficult time making sure swarms of kids, families, and models posing for Instagram follow along without trampling the delicate wildflowers.

On a typical day, the park sees about 60 visitors. During super bloom season that number skyrockets to around 2,000. Jean Rhyne, who has been an interpreter at the reserve for 13 years, has been vocal about the long-term impact this can have on the park’s natural wildlife.

“This park was created specifically because of the poppies that are here,” Rhyne told Vice News, “And if they get stepped on or sat on to take a picture in [...] it compacts the soil and then the roots from the seeds of the next year can't get in. So we'll have scars in the habitat for many years to come. ”

Super blooms in California tend to occur about once a decade on average, dependent upon heavy rainfall and favorable temperatures, but this season is the second the reserve has seen in three years. In 2017, there was what Rhyne calls the “Apopalypse,” when park staff first saw a significant and unexpected rise in visitorship, most of whom were drawn there for social media.

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Eugene Sunday OP
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Sun Apr 14, 2019, 07:23 PM

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