Scrolling through Instagram these days might cause runny noses and allergies, caused by what the Los Angeles Times calls the “super bloom” of wildflowers.
But Carrizo Plain National Monument Ranger Benjamin Rickman said “doing it for the instagram” is not worth killing the flowers in the process.
If it’s not the drought or the desert-like conditions keeping these flowers down, it’s the visitors, according to Joseph Serna from the LA Times.
When driving to these massive fields of yellow and purple, it’s considerably hard to subdue the childish urge to frolick madly about, collecting a bouquet as a souvenir of spring and snapping pictures.
“The best way [to enjoy the flowers] is to not pick them or lay in them, take only pictures” Rickman said. “We want to make sure everyone understands ‘Leave No Trace’ principles.”
That includes only laying in them for a few seconds to get that quick selfie, or making a small path to get to the perfect spot.
“If you lay down and disturb something, it’s going to look not the way it was before you got there,” Rickman stated. “If one person does that, it’s not the biggest deal in the world, but if everyone does that, it becomes a big deal.”
Rickman also said staying on the designated road or trail helps the flowers too.
“If someone already made a trail [through the flowers], stay on that trail,” he said. “Don’t make your own.”
Marni Goldenberg, outdoor recreation and adventure coordinator and professor for the department of Experience Industry Management at Cal Poly, also offered advice for enjoying the flowers without hurting them.
“Take only photos, leave only footprints,” Goldenberg said. “Walk only on paths, do not pick flowers and leave them for others to enjoy. Also I encourage individuals to think how to minimize their impact by carpooling and traveling together.”
In other words, walk quietly and be mindful of the impact that trophy shot for Instagram will have.
These “Leave No Trace” tips can be applied to all wild places, not just Carrizo Plain.
“All of these principles should be taken into consideration anytime anyone travels into the wilderness and outdoors,” Goldenberg said.