Please Don't Buy Helium ballons.

bnorton said:

MC said:

Why is this so hard to believe? Joshua Tree National Park is not tiny. It is about 68 miles wide (east/west) and 40 miles tall (north/south). It is 140 miles East of Los Angeles. That’s a lot of area, and it is downwind of the whole LA basin. Couple that with the fact that it is at the location where the desert meets the mountains, and you’ve got a good breeding ground for catching dying balloons. The balloons get released in LA, go up in the air. The jet stream and other air patterns drag them downwind, where they descend after losing helium or popping from getting too high. And they get caught on the mountains where the coastal air and dry desert air mix.

See map.

And MC, yes, it is specifically downwind from Disneyland. Disneyland is in Anaheim. See map. (DisneyWorld is in Orlando, Florida. :wink: )

I used to camp and climb in Joshua Tree Nationa Mounument (yes, I know, it’s National PARK now, but that still sounds funny) quite a bit, and I don’t recall seeing any balloons.

Now, cigarette butts and beer cans were abundant. They probably outnumbered many of the local plant species.

My guess is that the balloons came from somewhere a hell of a lot closer than LA or Disneyland. Not that there is a lot out there beside hippies, campers and biker meth labs.

**Irishman: **

Well, maybe, but I’m still skeptical. While Joshua Tree National Park may cover a wide area, it is still a pretty small target for what is essentially a random shot from 140 miles away. There are just too many variables involved here - wind, barometric pressure, temperature, the variance in the balloons themselves, etc. Even if JTNP is “downwind” from LA as you claim, it’s not always downwind.

I also notice that there are a lot of populated areas between LA and JTNP. Are they getting any fallout?

Actually the OP brings up a valid issue. All those helium balloons that we release into the air end up as litter somewhere. Would we be so cavalier if someone were just throwing them out their car window?

Well, to be fair, Joshua Tree National Monument is a perfect site for catching and preserving balloons (and virtually any other kind of trash). It’s high desert, there’s not a lot of moisture to biodegrade things, and there’s damn all vegetation to hide them.

Still, it would be hard to argue for a nation-wide ban on balloons. I’ve done a lot of hiking on the East Coast and the only latex I’ve been offended by on trails was, um, not inflated with helium.

Let’s hope there’s never a fat guy in a silver suit around.


I couldn’t agree more.

It doesn’t matter how big the park is, the OP mentioned finding MANY of them on one hike. He said that he was always stopping to pick them up. So let’s say that he hiked 10 miles, and found one per mile. Let’s further stipulate that they would have had to have been within 50 feet of the path he was hiking on to spot them. If he found ten, that’s a used balloon density of roughly 105 per square mile. While means that the park would have about 285,000 dead balloons in it.

And I’m being generous here. In the real world, given how easy it is to see something like an old dried balloon on a nature trail, if he found ten there probably would have to have been hundreds in the same area. And I gave him a 50 foot distance to spot one. In reality, it’d have to be pretty much under your feet.

So given those numbers, there would have to be millions of balloons in that park. And to get there the balloons would have to travel over 100 miles and then land right there.

I’m not saying the OP is lying. What I’m saying is that if he found a whole bunch of dead balloons on a hike, the most likely culprit is a kid’s party held in the same park, or a wedding in the park with a massive balloon release, or something like that.

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