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California’s Upcoming Super Bloom Has Towns Gearing Up for a Tourist Invasion

News National Parks
by Eben Diskin Jan 25, 2019

Rain in California brings a pretty cool silver lining — an epic wildflower season.

The rain and storms that have hit the sands of San Diego’s eastern desert this winter have already brought early blooms (sand verbena, sunflowers, and desert lilies) to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, as reported by Ernie Cowan for The San Diego Union-Tribune. But as a potential super bloom approaches, tourists are expected to descend on the town of Borrego Springs, located right beside the entrance to the park, in massive numbers.

The town of Borrego Springs has 3,500 permanent residents and consists of just a few shops and one small welcome area for visitors to the the park. During the last super bloom in 2017, the town was overwhelmed by an estimated 500,000 flower-peepers, but this year it’s prepared.

The town has ordered dozens of portable toilets and dumpsters and is taking measures to reduce traffic buildup and parking issues. Restaurants are bolstering their staff, and park rangers will be on-hand to guide visitors to the best bloom locations. “This time, there is a real sense of preparedness,” Bri Fordem, executive director of the Anza-Borrego Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times. “People should feel comfortable coming here.”

If you do make your way to SoCal for the bloom, Kathy Dice, superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, told Travel & Leisure that “morning is prime time” to see the bloom. She added that the desert is known for its wide variety of flora. “100 different types of flowers,” she said. “It’s very colorful.” She also advises visitors to drive a few miles away from the park’s main gate to avoid crowds and see a greater variety of flowers there, like brown-eyed primrose, little gold poppies, and fields of desert sunflowers. You should get there soon after blooming occurs, though, before the caterpillars hatch and feast on the flowers.

Check the park’s official wildflower update page for current flower reports, conditions, and other information. Or call the Wildflower Hotline phone number with an updated message about the conditions: (760) 767-4684.

H/T: Travel & Leisure

This article has been updated on February 14th, 2019.

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