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Monday, October 3, 2022

Visiting Hyperion, the tallest living thing on the planet, could cost you jail time

Hyperion
Photo: NPS - Kiel Maddox

California's Redwoods National Park is home to Hyperion, the tallest living creature on the planet, but visiting it could cost him a $5,000 fine and six months in jail, as his integrity is at risk due to the inordinate mistreatment of the people who come to the site.

Through a press release, the park located in northern California, almost on the border with Oregon, detailed that it has been strictly forbidden to visit or approach the long-lived tree.

"Visitors trampling Hyperion has resulted in the degradation of the base of the tree. The area around the tree no longer has ferns due to trampling," the park noted.

In addition, it has specified that launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or over lands and waters managed by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Redwood National Park is prohibited, except with the written approval of the superintendent.

Numerous restrictions are now in place in the park, including a ban on climbing any tree without a research permit issued by Redwood National and State Parks and a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

In turn, Tom McDonald Creek and the surrounding area upstream of its confluence with RedwoodCreek are also part of the restricted trails.

Although visiting Hyperion is now officially forbidden, this giant is located in the Redwoods National Park adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park, specifically in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California. This park is home to the enormous sequoia trees. 

Although the tree is protected and its exact location is out of reach of the public, it has already presented certain levels of degradation by some people. But not only humans represent a danger to the Titan of the forests, as fires are also a threatening element. 

The Sequoia National Park The California State University invites you to reflect on "Will you be part of the preservation of the park? Or part of the problem?", inviting you to learn about the consequences that currently exist if you were to visit the protected area, since there is no trail to Hyperion.

"Since its "discovery" in 2006, this tree has been on the wish list of many tree enthusiasts. Hyperion is off the trail through dense vegetation and requires a great deal of effort to reach the tree," the release states.

Despite the difficult journey, the rise in popularity due to bloggers, travel writers and websites of this off-trail tree has resulted in the devastation of the habitat surrounding Hyperion. As a visitor, you must decide whether you will be part of the preservation of this unique landscape or part of its destruction," he added.

Hyperion is not only in Greek mythology the Titan and father of the Sun God, but it is also the name of the wisest tree that surely saw the birth of your grandparents' grandparents, since it is the tallest living being on the planet -in 2004 it was 115.55 meters high- and it is estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old. 

It is worth mentioning that this peculiar sequoia was discovered by Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, both from the United States, on August 25, 2006. Due to the characteristics of this tree, its exact location is kept secret in order to protect it.

All of this has earned him to be considered by the Guinness World Records as the world's tallest living tree with a height of 116.07 meters in 2019.

The "red sequoia" or "California" tree is a very long-lived tree - it can live between 1,200 and 1,800 years - and its height is spectacular, being the tallest conifer, reaching up to 115 meters without including its roots, and it also has a diameter of a little more than seven meters at its base.

You may be interested in: Forest connectivity Why are trees making phone calls?

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