Looking for an extra incentive to visit a national park? The U.S. Forest Service has launched a new web site that helps you find the the best outdoor locations for wildflower viewing.
The new online wildflower map
displays data on hundreds of different national parks so you can see what flowers are blooming where. You can search by state or by national forest or grassland system and the results will tell you what plants and flowers can be found at each site and the best times to see them. All told, more than 300 different viewing sites are listed on the map.
The information on each site is both thorough and fun. You'll find driving directions, photos and information on the resident plant and flower species, and safety tips to make sure your visit is the best it can be. (For instance, don't forget to pack a few gallons of water if your family is visiting a desert site, or some snacks if you're going to be hiking for a few miles.)
The wildflower map is part of the agency’s broader 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." The web site also has features on the role of pollinators and dan ethnobotany page highlighting how people of particular cultures and regions make use of indigenous plants. There are also educational activities for kids and resources for teachers.
Spring is springing and flowers are blooming. Make the most of it by visiting a national park.