Wildflower blooms popping up in desert

   Early blooms of sand verbena, brittlebush and the spectacular desert lily are popping up in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

   Environmental Services Intern Paul Johnson predicts a “very good to outstanding” bloom this spring, with the peak expected between the last week of February and the second week of March, depending on the weather.

   Wildflower sightings will be updated weekly at the park’s Web site, www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638 and Anza-Borrego Foundation’s Web site, www.theabf.org. The Wildflower Hotline has updated information at 760-767-4684.

   Anza-Borrego Desert State Park’s Visitor Center will be open seven days a week from Feb. 22 through April 11 so all visitors can get the information they need. Park officials and the foundation will offer wildflower walks and tours throughout the bloom. To view the schedule of events, visit their Web sites.

   When the bloom reaches its peak, the massive fields of wildflowers are found at the northern edge of Borrego Springs on Henderson Canyon Road and at the northern end of DiGiorgio Road, about 1/4 mile beyond the end of the pavement. A variety of wildflowers are found along washes or in the canyons of the park. An off-road trip through the badlands, a hike up Borrego Palm Canyon or a trip to Plum Canyon may yield a array of wildflowers.

   Anza-Borrego Foundation’s Step-On Naturalist program tailors trips for those visiting on tour buses and in groups of 20 or more. A guided tour with a naturalist takes visitors to lesser known hot spots in the park. Contact Kelley Jorgensen at 760-767-4961 or visit www.theabf.org for more information. Starting at $10 per person, tours focus on a variety of topics including geology, general botany and prehistoric animals of the Anza-Borrego Desert. Park naturalists lead half-day or full-day trips catered to the needs of the group.

   Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is California’s largest state park and is the largest state park in the contiguous United States with more than 600,000 acres. It extends into three counties: San Diego, Imperial and Riverside.

   
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