Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Mother Nature is Building her Spring Bouquets;

State Parks Offer On-the-Spot Wildflower Coverage with "Ranger Cams"

(Phoenix, Arizona - February 13, 2015) - The Arizona State Parks department is already fielding calls about the possible flower bloom this year and are making plans for the droves of visitors those flowers might bring. To help the public track the evolution of the delicate fields of blooming poppies, the rangers take pictures and post them on the Arizona State Parks website at http://AZStateParks.com/RangerCam2015.

Executive Director Sue Black said, "Our rangers and volunteers take pictures as soon as the flowers start blooming and visitors can then decide when to leave other states to come here and take their pictures. Updated information about flowers at each park will be posted to help people around the country plan their vacations." Call the "State Parks Wildflower Hotline" at (602) 542-4174 and customer service staff will provide even more details for long distance travelers. "We want the visitors to check the website regularly, look at the pictures and then drive out into the surrounding deserts," said Black.

According to Picacho Peak Park Manager Aaron Soggs, "At Picacho the rain data is showing about 10 inches by the end of January this year which is the accumulated total since September of 2014. A great flower year was 1998 when there was 12 inches of rain, so we believe with any rains in February or March, there should be some magnificent Mexican poppy blooms. The mountain is greening up and we see the small plants are looking healthy this year."

Flowers in the desert bloom based on the elevations, the rainfall at a certain area, and the temperature. Usually the order of the bloom is: bladderpods, Mexican poppies, chuparosa, globemallow, brittlebush and then other cacti species. Already on some trails in the valley, the little yellow bladderpods, are creating yellow carpets across the landscapes. The tiny yellow-cross style flower gets its name from the small round fruit pods that develop after pollination. Green landscapes are early indications that the wildflowers may be glorious by early March. Other great flower blooming years in Arizona were 1995, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008.

The public is encouraged to tour State Parks to see flowers on weekdays when there is less traffic and there is plenty of parking. The poppies are just now starting to pop up and if it stays cool they may not bloom fully until the middle of February or early March.

Wildflower books are available with brochures and maps in rural areas at all of the State Parks. The "State Trails Guide" with 550 hiking trails is also available at all of the State Parks. For details on different areas around the state, call the State Parks Wildflower Hotline (8am-5pm weekdays) at (602) 542-4174 or watch "Ranger Cam" featuring pictures taken regularly at http://AZStateParks.com/RangerCam2015.

For information about all 28 Arizona State Parks, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call (602) 542-4174 or visit AZStateParks.com. Campsite reservations can be made online at AZStateParks.com or by calling the Reservation Call Center at (520) 586-2283. Open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST. Follow AZStateParks on Twitter and Facebook.


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