It's wildflower season, and the gorge is absolutely beautiful right now, the skies are blue, and endless carpets of wildflowers are dancing in the sun...
...only to have their faces smashed in by the inconsiderate fucks who wander off the trail to get a better Insta pic, smoke a quick joint, or just live those #pnw vibes.
You see, many of the flowers in the gorge are quite slow growing and delicate, taking many years to put on the show you see now. When you walk off-trail (or, worse, let your dog run around off-leash), you're fucking up the ecology. No matter how careful you tiptoe. At the very least, you're compacting the soil, which makes it difficult for them to grow in the harsh environs. At worst, you could be not only killing the native plants, but also planting invasive seeds that are stuck on your shoe treads (that's why that shoe brush thing is there at the trailhead- use it).
If that's still not enough to check your selfishness- consider this: ticks! Poison oak! Rattlesnakes! Those fields have tons of the first two, and just enough of the latter to keep things exciting.
So please just keep to the trails. Thanks.