Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California attracts thousands of visitors each spring to experience its stunning super bloom. However, this time an ‘abnormally dry’ winter will leave tourists disappointed. This spring, the popular park won’t witness a wildflower “super bloom.”However, an unexpected rainstorm last inspired hopes of a late-season bloom in early April. Park officials said they are not seeing fields of color, but can be enjoying a moderately busy wildflower visitor season. Super blooms in California occur about once in a decade in a specific area, and they have been happening less frequently with the drought.
A lot of effort goes for a super bloom to emerge. Heavy rainfall in September or October months rinses a bloom-inhibiting chemical from the seeds. A large amount of rain is required at least once every month so that flowers take hold.
Betsy Knaak, executive director of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, told The Columbian, "We don't want people to get their hopes up too high.” Knaak, who has lived in the Borrego area for 43 years, said there were pockets of flowers and annual blooming shrubs blanketing parts of the area, but not the big fields of flowers typically seen in the park around this time.
The rainstorm which appeared on Wednesday, said Knaak, could be a 'game-changer. So, park officials are optimistic about a super bloom appearing in two to three weeks. She comprehendedwell that this could be a banner year for the famous rainbow-like carpets of flower blooms that include sand verbena, brittlebush, chuparosa, Spanish needle, desert apricot, desert bluebells, desert lavender and Baja fairy dust.
Last year, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park had to close its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, with restrictions slowly being lifted, the park is having a moderately busy visitor season.Stay-at-home orders in spring 2020 temporarily closed the state park and all restaurants, non-essential businesses and community parks. Also, COVID-19 rules canceled outdoor dining, on-site tourist events at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitors center.
The 2017 super bloom, nicknamed “flowermageddon”, wasbest seen in 20 years in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and drew mass crowds to Borrego Springs. Those rain-fueled super blooms in 2017 and 2019drew an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 tourists during peak season.
The Borrego region averages only 5.3 inches a year. Knaak said it takes from three to six weeks for flowers to bloom and more rain is in the forecast this week. “It isn’t crowded like what people are accustomed to at this time of year. It’s still beautiful, and it’s lovely hiking weather. We’d love for people to come out, we just don’t want to mislead them about the flowers and have them be disappointed,” she told The Columbian.