This time, Borrego Springs says it's ready.
Southern California is well on its way to experiencing one heck of a rainy season. According to Curbed LA, Los Angeles will likely experience a second consecutive month of above-average rainfall in February. In the first two weeks of the month alone, the city experienced more than 3 inches of rain. And all that rain may be bringing one great surprise: a super bloom. Though it is a gorgeous sight, all those buds can cause issues for the tiny towns where they bloom.
Just a few hours south of Los Angeles sits the tiny town of Borrego Springs, which is also home to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Though the park is actually California’s largest state park, the town surrounding it is incredibly small. Borrego Springs' Main Street consists of just a few shops, even fewer restaurants, and one tiny welcome area for park visitors.
And it is there where all the delightful wildflowers are expected to bloom following all the rain. The last time the park experienced a super bloom was in 2017. At the time, people even dubbed it “Flowergeddon.” It was also then that an estimated 500,000 visitors descended on the town to see the flowers. According to KTLA, the town was both overwhelmed and underprepared for all those visitors.
But this time, it says, it’s ready.
“This time, there is a real sense of preparedness,” Bri Fordem, the executive director of the Anza-Borrego Foundation, told The Los Angeles Times. “People should feel comfortable coming here.”
The foundation, along with local businesses, is preparing for an influx of visitors to try and stave off the traffic jams, trash, congestion, and other issues that plagued the park during the last bloom, according to The Times.
Those preparations include contracting dozens of portable toilets, which will be spread out throughout the town, as well as near the flower fields. A dozen dumpsters are also reportedly on order.
Park rangers are preparing for both crowd and traffic control, and there’s even a plan in place to hand out maps to visitors pointing out the best bloom locations.
Even area restaurants are preparing with more staff.
“Now I think we may be overly prepared,” Andy Macuga, the owner of Carlee’s Restaurant, told The Times. “I know I’ve hired more staff than ever out of fear. I’m hiring people non-stop. You have a pulse? Love you. Come on in.”
Though this year’s bloom isn’t expected to be as big as 2017's, it is still expected to be glorious.
“Two years ago, we had an absolutely fantastic bloom,” Jim Dice, the reserve manager at the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, told The Times. “I don’t know if we’re going to meet that. It’s likely going to be a very good bloom, but a strong freeze right now could be very bad and a prolonged hot spell could hurt things.”
Still, if you go make sure to remember this is some people's home and a visiting area for others. So make sure to leave it better than you found it by living by the “leave no trace” principals. That way, we’ll all get invited back for the next super bloom.