After weathering an unusually wet fall and early winter, Californians may be greeted with colorful wildflower “super blooms” this spring, according to state parks officials.
Public land managers are forecasting “good” to “better-than-average” wildflower blooms in the coming months, which they predict could attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.
“These rare and unpredictable wildflower blooms occur when high precipitation levels in natural landscape areas are combined with a years-long drought,” California State Parks said in a recent statement.
Those years of drought have eliminated the grasses and weeds that would have otherwise consumed nutrients, paving the way for possibly “spectacular blooms,” according to the agency.
Depending on the park, officials said that visitors could find vibrant California poppies, sand verbena, desert sunflowers, evening primrose, popcorn flowers or desert lilies.
Some of the most beautiful blooms will likely occur in desert landscapes, with parts of southern San Diego County already seeing regional pockets of wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the agency said.
Shifts in desert temperature and weather, particularly during the month of February, could either promote or prevent such expansive wildflower spread in the future, officials said.
With so many people likely to frequent the state’s public lands, California State Parks warned that visitors should respect the landscapes and “explore the blooms safely and responsibly.”
Visitors should stay on designated trails and tread lightly in the desert while refraining from picking or trampling on flowers, according to the agency.
In parks where drone usage is allowed, photographers must request filming permits from state park units.
Hikers must also follow a “pack it in, pack it out rule” — with a goal of leaving the grounds even more pristine than when they entered.
“If the state is lucky to be adorned with wildflower blooms this spring, we want to make sure that everyone has a positive experience when exploring them,” California State Parks Director Armando Quintero said in a statement.
“California State Parks welcomes all to enjoy these unpredictable, rare occurrences but asks visitors to ‘Don’t Doom the Bloom’ by staying on designated trails and taking only photos, not flowers,” Quintero added.