Call of the wildflower
Utah's high-elevation wildflower explosion is on schedule for the first week of August. Some folks expect this to be the best wildflower season in years due to excellent snowpack over the winter. Wayne Padgett, forest ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service's Wasatch-Cache National Forest, says there is no doubt the extra water is helping, but he thinks the drought also may have played a role.
"It will be an incredible year and moisture is what did it, but I believe the drought may have had something to do with it as well," he said. "We had six years of drought and plants under stress do everything they can to survive and place more energy into reproducing. This is speculation on my part, but I think it helps create a better bloom than if we had several years of good moisture."
Cottonwood Canyons Foundation Wildflower Festival Schedule, July 29-31
Wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring water, snacks and rain gear for all hikes.
July 29: Meet at the Stonehaus in the Village at Solitude Resort at 3 p.m. for a ride up the Sunrise lift and a wildflower hike down the mountain.
July 30: Meet at the Kickstand Cafe at Alta for all events. Wildflowers walks will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for varying abilities on a 1-to-12 scale and leave on an as-needed basis. A photography workshop will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The workshop is $15 and includes lunch. Call 801-742-9712 to register. Learn about the raptors of the Wasatch Mountains at a birds of prey exhibit which opens at 11 a.m. Children's art in the mountains will be from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The event is geared toward children age 2-8. There is a $3 materials fee. Mike Trioli will play acoustic guitar from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and live music will continue until 4 p.m.
July 31 - Meet at the Plaza Deck at Snowbird for all events. Sign-ups for wildflower hikes is from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. A $5 donation to the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation is requested. A $15 donation buys you lunch after the hike and either a bungee jump or alpine slide ride. Joe Gates will be on hand for a geology display of the Wasatch Mountains from 8:15 a.m. to noon. A tram ride leaves at 9:30 a.m. for a wildflower hike from Hidden Peak back to base. Live music from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Wildflower conservation and etiquette
Like all natural treasures on public lands, wildflowers should be protected for all to enjoy. The Forest Service offers these tips when visiting its lands or land managed by its sister agenices, the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.
- Take only photographs and memories when you leave.
- Please, don't pick the flowers.
- Tread lightly and stay on the trail.
- Don't be afraid to ask for information on wildflowers.
- Get Involved by exploring volunteer opportunities on public lands.
Where to see high country wildflowers
-- Alta's Albion Basin in Little Cottonwood Canyon
-- Silver Lake boardwalk near Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon
-- Meadows at the top of Farmington Canyon
-- Tony Grove Reservoir in Logan Canyon
-- Mount Timpanogos
-- Bald Mountain in the Uinta Mountains
-- Nebo Loop
-- Ski resorts across the state (many offer summer lift service)
-- Mineral Basin area of American Fork Canyon