California State Parks said Wednesday that it's investigating the landing of a helicopter in Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve — known for its super bloom of California poppies in the spring — earlier this week.
State Parks Investigating Helicopter Landing in Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
The helicopter landed on the reserve's east side on Monday afternoon. A state park ranger tried to speak with the pilot and his passenger, but they climbed back into the helicopter and flew off before he could make contact, the parks department said in a statement.
Authorities had no additional information about the incident but said state regulations prohibit people from landing aircraft or taking off from a state park or property without permission from the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Also prohibited: flying unlicensed aircraft at an altitude of less than 500 feet unless approved by the parks and recreation department.
Tourists have been flocking to the California parks bursting with super blooms in Southern California, like Antelope Valley near Lancaster and Anza-Borrego State Park near San Diego.
In Riverside County, the city of Lake Elsinore, which has been deluged with poppy tourists, closed Walker Canyon — site of the local super bloom — on March 17 before reopening it the next day, calling the situation "unbearable." Recently, the city said it was providing a shuttle service to transport visitors to the Walker Canyon trailhead and had created several temporary remote parking lots for visitors, too.