Stay Your Ass Out of the Poppy Fields

April 11, 2017

Stay Your Ass Out of the Poppy Fields

Hiking path at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Park.

Let me preface this blog post by saying, I love a good photo op as much as the next person, but over the last couple of weeks my Instagram feed was hit with a flood of almost identical photoshoots in the California Poppy Reserve located in Antelope Valley, California. Hence the underscore “reserve.”  Prior to seeing all the poppy-licious photos, my mom shared that she wanted to visit weeks ago….actually for years but never got around to it. She intrinsically wanted to see the poppies. It wasn’t a trend for her.  However, my mom is usually ahead of her time as she enlightened me about Coachella way before it was cool. Upon seeing all of the photo ops, my immediate thought was, “It’s so trendy, I don’t even want to go.” And to be honest, I didn’t really want to drive out there anyway.  I thought, “maybe I’ll admire from afar.” I just didn’t get a case of FOMO….at all.

And I know I will probably get a lot of eye-rolling and backlash from this post, but I have to share my opinion because I feel strongly about it and it’s my blog, dammit. I digress. Back to the poppies. If you take a look at Yelp, you will see many people talking about dozens of cars pulled over and visitors trampling the poppies. The poppies only bloom once a year and it has been this way for decades upon decades.  According to one Yelp reviewer, “Once in the reserve, there’s two main trails up through the hills. There are signs to stay on the trails to not trample the flowers and to allow them to grow up the next season. Many people don’t listen, unfortunately. There are some rangers who walk by to check, but not enough to monitor everyone.”  

According to California Department of Parks and Recreation, they clearly state, “Stay on OFFICIAL TRAILS only. Walking in the poppies crushes all of the wildflowers and will result in a ticket. DO NOT walk where others have already damaged plants or there is only bare dirt; it will compound the damage and leave a scar for years to come. No dogs, bikes, drones, or picking flowers.”  A side note: this Yelp reviewer also mentions that she has lived in LA for over 12 years and never even heard of the Reserve.  Which brings me to my next point.

Again, I love nature and I love a good Instagram-worthy shot, and even a short road trip from time to time. However, I think we need to check our intentions before hopping on the next trend or bandwagon that looks cool just for an Insta shot. Maybe not participating in activities just because we are having a major case of FOMO, and want to be able to talk about it and say we did it, but rather engaging in activities that we genuinely want to experience. Wouldn’t that be more meaningful? And please, please don’t destroy the environment for the Gram.  Make sure it’s still there for generations to come. To be honest, visiting a place where there are loads of people and cars pulled over for miles doesn’t sound fun, enjoyable or peaceful to me. But that’s just my opinion. But if I do go see the poppies, I’ll make sure to follow the rules. The poppies are beautiful on their own. They don’t need me taking the spotlight.

Have you been to the Poppy Reserve? Share your experience in the comments!

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