Researchers discovered a grove of ancient Redwood trees in Northern California in 1998 and some are more than 1,000 years old. Researchers kept the location a secret to help preserve the trees, but word got out, and now avid photo seekers are threatening the trees, according to CBS News Monday.

The group of trees, called the “Grove of Titans,” is located within Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in Del Norte County California. The trees were discovered by researchers  Steve Sillett and Michael Taylor, who kept the location a secret. But curious tree seekers eventually posted the coordinates online and the location has become easier to find.

“It’s supposed to look like virgin forest passed down from prehistory, but instead, it’s starting to look like the Los Angeles freeway system,” said Brett Silver, acting superintendent for California’s Redwood National and State parks to the Statesman Journal.

The Grove of Titans is off the official trail designations created by park workers. When photo seekers go to the grove, they compress the dirt around the trees and trample on the Redwoods roots which are located near the surface. People also have been stepping on the trees to take better photos, damaging their bark.

“Redwoods are not deeply rooted — they tend to stretch across the surface, which is where they forage for nutrients and oxygen,” said Sillett, who is a professor at Humboldt State University to the Statesman Journal. “People stepping on them all the time has a negative effect on their health. They won't die tomorrow, but their health is degraded.”

The rise of social media and people wanting to get a shot posing with the Redwoods that are as tall as 320 feet and as large as 26 feet around led to the parks coming up with a raised platform trail idea.

“Just a couple people searching off-trail is one thing,” said Silver “But when it’s 50 to 60 people every single day, that’s entirely different. We knew we had to do something …We’re planning to build a boardwalk that lets people get close to the largest trees without damaging them.”

The Redwoods Park Conservancy is in the process of raising around $1 million to build the walkways. With a stretched budget, the park system is hoping to get outside funds to finish the project.

Signs were placed in the park last year asking people to stay on the trails until the vaulted walkways are complete, and park rangers ask people not to search for the Grove.