Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Southern California Wildflower Enthusiasts

Southern California 'Super bloom' wildflower trail closed indefinitely after photo-seeking visitors trample flowers
Photo - Andrew Cullen

As thousands of people descend on Southern California's wildflower fields, the impact is evident as stands of flowers are flattened by selfie-seekers, instagram celebrities and new trails through the flowers are created daily

Unprecedented crowds eager to snap up those photos of the California's super bloom have damaged a popular wildflower trail so badly that it is now closed indefinitely. The Wildflower Trail is located at Diamond Valley Reservoir in Riverside County just south from the city of Hemet California is currently concrete barrier blocked after patches of the stunning wildflowers were trampled into oblivion.  The Metropolitan Water District, which maintains the area said the primary problem is that people are walking off-trail to take that prize winning hope it goes viral photo among all the wildflowers. Environmental specialists brought in to assess the damage noted bare patches and flattened flowers like the California Poppies above. Here is the link to th entire story: - Overly enthusiastic visitors trample wildflowers, leading to trail closure
Photo - Andrew Cullen

When people start pioneering a trail, people behind them follow. And before you know it, they think they’re on a legitimate trail,” Wendy Picht (Environmental Specialist for MWD) said. “So it’s up to us to make sure they have the information to know where the trail is and where they can and can’t go.”  
Wendy Picht and Alex Marks have started putting up signs that say, clearly, “Stay on the trail." They also are tilling compacted soil and may re-seed bare areas with native wildflower seeds. In addition, Metropolitan Water District is placing staff along the trail to make sure people aren’t traipsing into the reserve. A half-mile section of the most heavily trampled area remains closed. 

Photo - Andrew Cullen

I don't imagine this is the kind of instragram fame these
wildflower enthusiats were hoping for in this News Report

Selfies vrs Selfless ??? & Doin' it for the "Likes" ???
“It’s sometimes nice to see yourself in a really nice picture with a really cool background,” said Robin Kopf, who was trying to get her friend Christina Barrett, who was sitting cross-legged in a patch of poppies, to pose. The girls had driven two-hours from West L.A. in Barrett’s mom’s minivan with a group of their friends from high school.   
But in order to get the picture, Kopf and Barrett had flattened a patch of poppies. They seemed to feel badly about it.   
“I don’t want to crush them,” Barrett said.   
“They seem pretty resilient,” Kopf said, looking over her shoulder at the poppies. “Lots of people are doing this.”  
Jonathan Pong of Glendale and a friend were climbing an informal trail up a steep slope covered in poppies and lupines. Pong said he knew he was supposed to stay on the trail, but couldn't resist. "But we tried very hard not to touch any of the flowers," he said. "And I think most people do that, but when you have a little too many [people], they probably get trampled."
Very Interesting Read on Selfie Obsession & Social Networking Sites
It's okay to stop and smell the Roses, just don't stomp and obliterate them 'Godzilla' !!! 
 Huffington Post: Scientists Just Validated Your Instagram Obsession
Anyone Remember this infamous Classic Bambi meets Godzilla Film Video by Marv Newland back in 1969 ?

Further Reading about this Area's History
Back in 2014 I wrote a series of articles about this region's (western Riverside County) flora as seen through the eyes of both Spanish Explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and Fray (Friar) Pedro Font both of whom recorded the details of massive wildflower displays in their journals. Everywhere they went they seemed to give special prominance to this. How could they not ? The first references of wildflowers started in the Terwilliger area of Anza Valley, thereafter venturing through Bautista Canyon, next through the Hemet & San Jacinto Valley all the way to Mystic Lake near Moreno Valley. The journals first meant a lot to me way back in 1981 (I was encouraged to read it by a US Forest Service employee - Steve Raybould) where I went to the Riverside County Library (no such thing as internet then) and checked out the diary to read about what the area was once like. For me it was my early motivation to explore the area in detail the actual physical geographical locations which back in the early 1980s was not yet insanely developed at that time, but pretty wild with only a few farms and ranches. Diamond Valley Reservoir wasn't even there. The road from Hwy 79 to Sage Rd was called Newport Road. Mostly open range with a couple of dairies. 

Here are the links to posts about the journals I created back in 2014, but I would encourage FIRST anyone who is genuinely interested to go online and read both Anza's and Font's own journals about what they saw for yourself. Don't take my word! 😏
Oregon State University: An Interactive Study Environment on Spanish Exploration and Colonization of "Alta California" 1774-1776
Word of caution about the above site. It's fascinating and full of incredible information and commentary. There should also be a glossary of terms and expressions (idioms) used by Anza and Font because much of the words or expression are not used anymore. The links below are from my perspective as I'm keen as to how the natural world looked back then. I actually quote more on relevant paragraph quotes that include natural world observations and leave much of the human politics, economics and land aquisition for the Spanish Empire out of it. Although this survey for the Spanish empire expansion is why they wrote about the natural world as their surveyed and documented all natural resourves such as timber, water sources, agricultural potential, etc. So below are my thoughts and observations. As long as my posts are, I didn't reveal the half of what I know because people today quite simply have got very short attention spans. Nevertheless, Enjoy! 😵
(Part 1) Juan Bautista de Anza's Journal sheds light on a past Extinct Ecosystem
(Anza Expedition Part II) The Valley that was, but isn't any longer
This next post is especially interesting because it focusses on the subject of the once (now almost gone) largest and most extensive vernal pool complexes in Southern California which are now mostly all gone in Hemet, Diamond & Menifee Valleys. These breath taking pools and accompanying wildflower mega-blooms are now just a part of the historical past:
Image is western Hemet Valley

This massive flower display are Goldfields which
 are now paved over for development and progress

The Vernal Pools of South and Western Hemet (Anza Expedition extra)
Old Bautista Creek Channel East and West side
The San Jacinto River Valley that Juan Bautista de Anza saw
San Jacinto River Wildlife Refuge & the wetlands potential beyond to Corona
Anza's Dairy & the Lessons Learned

Update: April 21, 2017
Wildflowers in the high deserts of eastern San Diego County within isolated portions of railroad right-of-way.
Photo by Alexander Elling 2017
The old San Diego Arizona Eastern Railroad right-of-way in eastern San Diego County now abandoned and being partially reclaimed by the nature world.



  1. LOTS of brittlebrush and marguerites and LUPINES up on Highway 74. I haven't see so many EVER! They cover every hillside! I posted some photos a couple of blog posts ago...take a look!

    We drove to Temecula yesterday and saw poppies, marguerites, mustard...very pretty!
    ~Cheryl Ann~

    1. The last big superbloom I remember in western Riverside county was in the early 1980s during the El Nino event

  2. Would the superbloom be the explanation for why ALL our hummingbirds have disappeared? And, bees too? They have completely vanished from our yard. I took down the hummingbird feeders and ran them ALL through the dishwasher (to get rid of any mold), but they haven't been back yet...

    1. Actually for the moment, they may be distracted by all the native blooms in the wild. Once the blooms pass they may come back. They thrive on natives. During the drought you've been merely subsidizing them with your own version of entitlement programs.


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