Longreads

Anyone who’s visited Yosemite National Park knows the effect its popularity has had on the park’s ecological quality: roads, cars, air pollution, noise pollution, forest fires, crowds, and trash. To say we can love something to death is a cliché because it’s true. For the San Francisco Chronicle, California native Robert Earle Howells sees this same dynamic at work on the world’s tallest, oldest coastal redwoods, and shows why it’s better to conceal champion trees’ locations than to publicize them.

Record-sized trees become so-called “trophy trees” to eager visitors, but the more people visit trees like Hyperion, the more they damage the trees and forest. Park policies have shifted in response. The fact is, people can’t visit everything in our own public lands, because even though parks serve the public by allowing us to see rare natural areas and experience wilderness, parks also need to ensure that those…

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