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Last minute bluebonnet pictures? Know before you go: you might be trespassing, or in danger

Posted at 6:21 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 19:21:23-04

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Texas — There are a few precautions some people neglect to take when stopping for bluebonnet pictures, particularly when it comes to respecting the integrity of private land.

Donna Kettrick Gandy’s family have owned land in Independence for five generations now. Frequently in the spring, families wanting wildflower photo shoots will trespass onto her elderly mother’s land where red blooms grow.

“They just continue to trespass on the property," she said. "And they’re not even asking. They’re not even coming up to the house and asking if they can take pictures on the land.”

When it comes to the charge of criminal trespass, the Texas penal code reflects that it’s important to ensure a person is either on public land or that they have consent from a landowner to be there. Gandy said people have even parked in her mother’s driveway to take pictures, and the feeling is very violating; especially seeing those photos shared in local Facebook groups.

“After you see this day after day after day, people in your yard, it finally gets so frustrating," she said.

State troopers also urge families to avoid parking on the edge of the road or in highway medians.

“If you happen to want to stop on the side of the road, make sure you’re fully off the road, on the shoulder," said Sgt. Justin Ruiz, spokesperson with the Department of Public Safety. "Put on your hazards so somebody can see something is going on."

And while drivers are likely to see wildflowers all across grass medians, parking in the middle of a highway between those fast left lanes is especially dangerous.

“Now you’ve got to figure out, how am I going to get back into that fast lane safely?" said Ruiz. "It’s even hard for troopers and officers to do it when they’re trying to turn around in the center median and do it safely.”