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Why People Are Mad at This Group Posing in Front of a Sequoia

It’s easy to elicit outrage and negative comments on social media. Just voice a political opinion or criticize a Marvel movie. But what about posing in front of a tree? Like most things, context matters. 

In a series of pictures shared by the Instagram account Tourons of National Parks, the channel explained a group of tourists in Yosemite National Park crossed over a fence blocking off a restoration area in the Mariposa Grove to pose next to a giant sequoia tree. 

The photos show four adults and two children getting ready for a picture with an “area closed” sign in clear view. The caption explains that the group was told the area was closed off and a man in the group responded, saying, “It’s a once in a lifetime photo. Only one photo.” And later added, “Mind your own business.”

While we don’t know who the people in the pictures are or their side of the story, people in the comments section were very clear about how they felt. The top comment reads: “Just know, that tree is worth more than your selfish mentality and is actually beneficial for the ecosystem,” and most of the rest say some variation of the same thing.

It also raises the question: What’s the big deal about posing in front of the sequoia tree?

According to the National Parks Service, the Mariposa Grove is the largest sequoia grove in Yosemite and home to more than 500 mature giant sequoias. In 2015, the park closed the grove to launch a large-scale restoration project to both improve the habitat and the visitor experience. Then, in 2018, it was re-opened. 

The restoration plan — the largest in the park’s history — took approximately three years to create, another three years to execute, and cost an estimated $40 million. During the project, workers rebuilt parking lots, roads, and trails so they wouldn’t damage the trees’ fragile roots or jut up against their trunks.

The project also included restoring the natural flow of water to the trees. According to Save the Red Woods League, sequoias need a lot of water and have shallow roots. Therefore, if you walk around the base of a giant sequoia, you can compact the soil and prevent the roots from getting enough water. 

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