Wildflower season comes early to refuge, tours scheduled | Environment
MARION, IL (KFVS) - Crab Orchard National Refuge says spring has sprung along the Rocky Bluff Trail.
They say wildflowers are blooming nearly a month ahead of schedule and rangers will be offering their guided wildflower walks earlier than ever this year.
Weather events of the past several years have changed the landscape of the forests surrounding the trail which is located just off of Tacoma Lake Road. Many large trees were toppled by the May 8th storm in 2009. Since then trees and their branches have continued to fall in successive thunder and wind storms.
When large trees and branches fall, the canopy opens up, allowing more sunlight to reach the forest floor. A warm winter and spring have also kept the ground from freezing and made water available to all the plants of the forest. Add water and sunlight to an already substantial seed base and you have the perfect equation for an explosion of color.
Ranger guided walks will be offered starting this Saturday, March 24 at 10 a.m. Interested hikers should meet at the Rocky Bluff trailhead and wear sturdy shoes for a trail that can be muddy. The hike takes a leisurely pace to allow plenty of time to enjoy the flowers, but does include a steep climb up the bluffs to reach the trail’s end.
Additional hikes will be offered: March 31, April 7 and April 14.
For more information, please contact the Refuge Visitor Center at 618-998-5933.
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