Find your favorite blooms — and the best time to visit
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — This year’s early snowmelt may also mean an early wildflower season in the Colorado high country and other parts of the West, with miniature alpine forget-me-not already blooming high in the alpine tundra and blue violets sprouting along forest trails.
Click here to see some of the wildflowers already blooming in Summit County, Colorado.
Just in time, the U.S. Forest Service has updated its interactive online map to help forest visitors find the best viewing spots and time their visits for the best blooms.
“This updated map provides visitors a quick guide to find locations and best viewing times for the spectacular natural beauty of wildflowers on national forests,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “This is one more way folks can experience the bounty of natural surroundings.”
For many rural communities, the tourist revenue generated by thousands of wildflower festivals and events held each year helps support local economies. Forest Service visitor surveys show that viewing and photographing wildflowers and trees and other passive recreation are the fastest growing nature-based outdoor activities.
A narrative for each location describes the viewing area’s botanical habitat, the types of wildflowers that can be found by season, and recommendations for the best time of year to visit. Information on safety advisories such as animal habitats, clothing recommendations, insect or plant cautions, and traffic and parking tips are included. Directions to the site, the closest town and contacts for more information are also offered.
The map is part of the agency’s Celebrating Wildflowers web site which includes more than 10,000 plant images and information about the aesthetic, recreational, biological, medicinal, and economic values of native plants.
Feature sections focus on the role of pollinators, overviews of flower types, and spotlights on rare and interesting plant communities. An ethnobotany page highlights how people of particular cultures and regions make use of indigenous plants. Educational activities for kids and resources for teachers also are available.