Social Media Is Destroying This West Coast Natural Treasure
The famed redwood Grove of Titans in California is being damaged by visitors drawn by social media.
Located in Jedediah Smith State Park, this stunning grove of gargantuan redwood trees was once an almost unknown natural wonder. It was first discovered in 1998 by researchers who kept the exact location a secret to prevent visitors from swarming the spot.
In the early 2000s, determined explorers used unofficial resources like Google Maps and online hiking forums to learn how to find the grove.
However, the dawn of social media proved dangerous to the Grove of Titans. A few years ago, a photo was posted on Instagram along with the GPS coordinates of the secret grove. With a few keystrokes, the spot became accessible to anyone with a smartphone.
The Grove of Titans once saw a handful of visitors a year. Today, as many as 50 people a day tramp through the ancient cluster of trees. The increased foot traffic has devastated the health of the trees.
Though they look nearly indestructible, many of the root system of a redwood tree is actually buried just three feet under the soil’s surface. This means that visitors’ footsteps are slowly killing the small roots that are critical for taking up nutrients.
Even worse, people in search of the perfect Instagram post are causing damage to the trees’ bark and branches as they pose, attempt to climb and even carve their names into the trunks.
Now, the California’s Redwoods Parks Conservancy is looking to raise $1.4 million to build raised walkways around the trees in order to stop the damage to the root system. The walkways will allow visitors to get close to the trees without hurting their health. Click here to donate to the cause.