Like all things good and wonderful in our natural world, the inevitable outcome of California’s ongoing wildflower “super bloom” was elite, helicopter-flying types of people fucking it up.
Two unnamed individuals—reportedly, a couple—landed a helicopter amid a field of delicate golden poppies on Monday, prompting officials at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve to ask that visitors, yeah, not do that.
“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,” park officials wrote in a Facebook post, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We were wrong,” officials added, using the hashtag #DontDoomTheBloom. The post has since been deleted, according to the Washington Post.
The couple exited the helicopter and began to walk among the flowers when law enforcement approached them, the park told the Los Angeles Times. Predictably, the cowards sprinted back to their helicopter and flew away.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is located in Lancaster, just south of Los Angeles. Park spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.
Super blooms are the result of a confluence of factors: Rain, warm temperatures that wake seedlings from their winter dormancy, and, this year in particular, wildfires that burned away competing plants.
Acres of golden poppy, California’s state flower, and other flora have attracted tens of thousands of tourists per day, reported the Wall Street Journal. Crowds have become so unmanageable that city officials declared a public-safety crisis for Walker Canyon, the bloom’s “epicenter,” and shuttered access to fields in Lake Elsinore, roughly 125 miles south of Antelope Valley.
One city official called it a “social media-driven” meltdown.
“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,” Lake Elsinore mayor Steve Manos wrote on Facebook earlier this month.
(On my own Instagram feed, I’ve seen a few people laying, walking, and generally trampling on the flowers.)
If you do want to snap a super bloom selfie or two, Antelope Valley asks that you please stay on official trails only.
“Getting a picture of one really nice wildflower off the trail will crush all the plants along the way and compact the soil,” the park says on its website, “leaving lifeless bare dirt for the next few years or longer.”
The park is now actively trying to identify the chopper that landed on the poppies before escaping the law. “This could have been a serious incident,” officials said. “Luckily no one was injured.”