Environment

Sorry, there probably won’t be a Carrizo Plain ‘superbloom’ this year

Bad news, wildflower watchers: There probably isn’t going to be a “superbloom” at the Carrizo Plain National Monument this year.

The federal Bureau of Land Management’s Central California District wrote that “there’s been a hiccup” in this year’s rainy season, and the paltry levels of precipitation have been “nowhere near enough for wildflowers.” Unusually wet weather in 2017 enabled the stunning blooms that drew the world’s attention and more than 100,000 visitors, according to the BLM.

The blooms were even visible from space.

“San Luis Obispo County ... typically gets more than a foot of rain from October through mid-February. But this season, slightly more than one inch of precipitation has fallen in that time frame,” the BLM wrote.

Blooms typically appear sometime between mid-March and May, but “there would need to be significant precipitation soaking into the parched, arid grasslands to turn around the dry trend,” BLM wrote.

Despite the lack of massive flower blooms, the BLM wrote that there are plenty of reasons to still visit the monument: “Walk along the San Andreas Fault, watch wildlife, hang out at historical sites, see pictographs at Painted Rock or simply enjoy the solitude.”

But if you do go, take care.

“There is no water, food or fuel at Carrizo Plain National Monument. The nearest services are 15 miles from the south entrance and 60 miles from the north entrance. Cell service is spotty, restrooms are limited, and many of the roads are unpaved dirt or gravel,” the BLM wrote.

And as always, take only pictures and leave only footprints.

More information is available by calling 805-475-2035.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler

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