Super bloom mania

#1

Perhaps some of you are familiar with the super bloom in California right now, and the Instagram tourism associated with it. Some towns like Borrego Springs prepared for the influx of visitors. Other towns, like Lake Elsinore, did not prepare adequately.
What are your thoughts on how a town can deal with the traffic and visitors associated with a super bloom?

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#2

How about close the roads where the flowers are and provide shuttle buses in and out of the area? But I guess a town can’t do that alone . . . .

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#3

broadly, more access to nature, something like 30 million people live in the area around LA and while there are some decent trails, there aren’t enough places to access nature and the staffing and funding is horrible.

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#4

And I thought it was crazy in 2005… https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/21437282

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#5

But more to your question… I think local jurisdictions would be foolish not to just embrace the phenomenon, and learn from other jurisdictions that have successfully adapted (and maybe even found ways to tap new revenue streams in the process).

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#6

As one of the ones who will shortly be participating in the madness (although hopefully a little more mindfully than some), I’d hate to see access removed (I know no one is advocating that, except for the Lake Elsinore situation and that was only briefly) because perhaps exposure to this extraordinary phenomenon might spark interest in being more aware and interested all year round.

Which sparked a stray thought. If ifNat wanted to get a whole bunch of contributors, some of whom might stick around, how about putting a sign in the Borrego Springs Park Headquarters about iNat and inviting people to participate? OK, you can stop throwing things now lol. I know it would probably result in a bolus of obs of indifferent quality, but it would certainly be a way to target an audience that is not only interested but interested enough to get off their b*ms and get outside! And that might also lead to a bolus of new users who contribute usefully.

Anyway, just a stray thought.

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#7

I think any outreach that isn’t oriented towards getting ‘duress users’ is great. After all, we may recruit some identifiers as well as observers.

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#8

I think stewards or environmental educators are a great way to engage visitors productively and generate awareness around good behavior in nature. In sensitive alpine areas summit stewards monitor the sites during high tourism traffic and remind people to not step on vegetation and explain the importance of restoration sites and general respectful behavior when enjoying nature whether human-monitored or not. They also frequently collect daily data.

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#9

Hire staff to direct visitors to the nearest large field of blooming mustard, Raphanus, or Oxalis, tell them to go to town.

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#10

And then tag you in all the resulting iNat observations for IDs?? :no_mouth:

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#12

:laughing:

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#13

The location of the bloom in Lake Elsinore makes this option tricky. The city council tried it last weekend, closing the two northern entrances on to the I-15 freeway in the process, angering a lot of residents. Understandably, as not having access to those exits increased our commute north by an hour. Reports from CHP indicated that over 500 cars illegally parked on the side of the I-15 freeway to get access to the flowers. Thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate any input!

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#14

I’m not familiar with the area, so I didn’t realize freeway access would be affected. It would be interesting to know whether the people who go are mostly interested in nature or in selfies showing themselves at the latest highly-publicized place.

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#15

I’m sure that there are both. There are a surprising number of photos of women in long flowing skirts dreamily looking in the distance with a hillside full of poppies behind them. When I was up there with my family 2 weekends ago, there were women in platform heels. Neither outfit seems appropriate for the terrain, but more for some particular “look”. The poppies do make a nice photographic backdrop, though.

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#16

Maybe have some competing photography events nearby then, that aren’t in the middle of a nature area?

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#17

yeah they need a huge platform set up for selfies for those who don’t want to hike anyway

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#18

We get it with the lupins (invasive exotic) around the McKenzies in New Zealand, tourists have been known to stop in the middle of the road and get out to take photos… not great to be coming around a corner to!

Russell Lupins In the McKenzie.NZ
(not my pic, btw… from flickr [linked])

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