Springtime is an exciting time when wildflowers bloom with massive explosions of color that carpet certain regions of the United States. However, super blooms are now attracting millions of people which causes big concern for the wildflowers. By following these wildflower etiquette tips will help protect and preserve the wildflowers and encourage more bee pollination.
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Protect & Preserve the Wildflowers
If you’ve never had the experience of witnessing a wildflower super bloom, you should definitely put on your bucket list. Through our travels, we got to see the super bloom in the southwest U.S. and the Bluebonnets in Texas.
However, it’s not just the jaw-dropping, mass amounts of colorful wildflowers that’s taking our attention by storm!
Sadly, manners has seriously taken a back seat. Seriously, I don’t think etiquette is even getting into their vehicle!
What we’re witnessing is the incredibly massive disrespect to nature, property owners, town residents and each other. So much that we’re noticing that areas of heavy concentrations of wildflowers are being shut down to visitors. Why?
Senseless visitors are blocking traffic, parking where they shouldn’t be, littering, impacting wildlife and yes, actually killing the flowering plants. All for what? To get that perfect money-making Instagram photo? YEP!
Not only are the fields of flowers and wildlife in peril but also people’s safety is being ignored.
And this is precisely the reason why many nature organizations are implementing a set of rules to minimize the impact to our wildflowers.
But it’s not just the wildflowers that raise concerns. It’s also the pollination process from the bees, butterflies, and birds. And, it also includes the impact on the wildlife.
So, to help protect and preserve nature, here are some wildflower etiquette and safety tips to keep visitors safe as well as minimize the impact of so many travelers on our colorful fields
Driving and Parking
Anytime you visit places where there’s an abundance of wildflowers, always drive and park respectfully and with caution. Usually, other drivers are paying more attention to the scenery than the road. Always look out for pedestrians and pets.
Avoid stopping your vehicle and walking on the highway or even the breakdown lane. It is actually illegal in Texas to do that!
When you’re looking for a place to park, never assume you can park just anywhere. You should only park in legal designated parking locations. If there is not an adequate shoulder, continue to a safer place.
Always park on the same side of the roadway as the wildflowers. Also, only park parallel to the road in the direction of traffic. Don’t cross lanes of traffic on foot to get to the wildflower viewing areas.
Obey All Traffic Signs. This includes signs that prohibit parking on the roadway, emergency lanes, in driveways, and on private or commercial property.
Anytime you enter or exit the roadway or parking areas, always use your turn signals and look both ways before proceeding.
And lastly, watch for wildlife. Especially in more remote areas, be on the look out for big game, small animals and everything in between. Remember, wildflowers are part of our natural environment. We must remember, we’re in their house where we are the guest.
Leave the Drone at Home
While you may want to get those amazing aerial shots of the wildflower fields from the sky, drone usage is not recommended. In most areas, they’re banned.
A lot of wildflower bloom areas are on private, commercial or government property. For private property owners, drone usage is considered an invasion of privacy. For ranchers, drones impact livestock behavior.
In natural public areas, drones can impact wildlife as well as the outdoor experience of others. Drones are disruptive to people who are just there to enjoy nature and the quiet; not hear or see a drone buzzing by.
Follow Park Rules
Always respect the land, wildlife, Rangers, employees as well as others who are enjoying the same reason you’re out there. Be a good steward of our Parks.
Respect Private Property
A lot of wildflower fields are located on private property. The wildflower super bloom does not give you permission to go traipsing on their land to get that magazine worthy photo shot.
In other words, never trespass or cross fences. If property owners have no trespassing signs, it explicitly means STAY OUT! Even if there are no signs posted, stay out of other people’s property.
However, some property owners may open their land or allow access during the wildflower super blooms. Always be respectful of their generosity.
If there’s a gate, always make certain to close it anytime you enter or exit the property. Some landowners have livestock that need to be contained inside their fence.
There are plenty of public places to take pictures.
✰ OUTSIDERS PRO TIP ✰ Did you know that in some parts of the country, land owners paint their fence posts purple Read why: What do the Purple Fence Posts Mean?
Mind the Littles
We all understand that kids are super energetic and the minute they get out of the car, they want to run around. The wildflower fields are a natural habitat for all of us to enjoy. In nature, we should all be on our best behavior.
However, allowing your children free rein can be dangerous and can be considered rude; especially if there are people trying to take in the beautiful scenery or taking photos.
Also, there can be lot of traffic, people you don’t know getting in and out of cars, and things that may hurt them in the wildflowers themselves.
There’s critters slithering and crawling under the flowers and leaves that could injure them or be injured without warning.
In other words, never allow them to roam freely through the wildflower fields, step on or sit on the flowers. Nor should they eat the plants or flowers. Some flowers are toxic and could cause severe allergic reactions.
This is a good time and place to instruct children to look but don’t touch. Use these times to teach them outdoor etiquette and what leave no trace means.
Leash Your Pets
If you are walking your pet near or through the wildflowers fields, they need to be kept on a short leash at all times.
Do not let your dog run through the wildflowers. Also, make certain your pet doesn’t urinate or poop on the flowers.
And, as we mentioned earlier, there may be venomous snakes and diseased wildlife hidden amongst the wildflower plants.
Lastly, let’s not forget that not everyone likes dogs or cats. Refrain from allowing your pet to approach people or other pets who may be enjoying the wildflower scenery.
Stay on Designated Trails
It’s important to stay on established trails. Not only for personal safety, but for wildlife and wildflowers themselves.
If there are no designated trails, only step on visibly bare dirt or gravel patches between the wildflowers.
Better yet, just stay where there are no flowers. Take in the view and get some great panoramic shots of the entire wildflower field.
Don’t Step, Sit or Lay on the Flowers!
While our cover photo of the woman lying in a field of bluebonnets looks cool, it’s actually bad wildflower etiquette!
While it’s tempting to sit in the lush carpet of flowers, DON’T! Doing so will injure or kill the plants. Dead plants make no seeds for next year’s production which means less bees, birds and other natural resources.
Visitors should only step, stand or sit in the places that have already been used as a seat or posing area.
Refrain from using recently flattened spots. Those are where other people didn’t follow the wildflower etiquette rules. You may get the blame since you were the last one to leave.
Don’t Pick the Flowers!
Legal or not, leave the flowers alone! Do not pick or gather them for bouquets to take home. We need the wildflowers to go to seed for future wildflower seasons.
But also, the bees, butterflies and birds need our wildflowers for pollination and to continue the circle of life.
This also includes not uprooting plants. This disrupts the root system that may be used to control soil erosion.
Watch for Wildlife
Wildflowers and flower fields are also wildlife habitats. In many parts of the country, there’s dangerous rattlesnakes that like to live under the foliage and flowers.
Packrats, Prairie Dogs, rats, mice, moles and other wildlife that may also be hiding under the foliage and flowers. Do not step on or collapse their burrows or holes. Those are wildlife habitats; their homes.
Always be on the lookout for suspicious of insects, scorpions and spiders. And, be aware of bees. Never swat, injure, squash or kill our bees and bugs. Our planet needs every one of them!
If you or someone in your party is allergic to bees, it may mean sitting in the vehicle to take photos.
Leave it better than you found it
Anytime you’re outdoors, always follow the 7 principles of Leave No Trace.
You and those with you need to be mindful of how you impact the area. Do not alter, take, dig, bury, litter, etc. or do anything that negatively impacts the environment.
Also, take everything you brought with you. Watch for things that may fall out of your pockets. Teach your children to look around themselves before moving leaving.
Follow the pack in, pack out rule of outdoor etiquette. And, if you find any trash, pay it forward by taking it with you when you leave. Be a good example to your children and others.
Don’t Be a Photo Spot Hog
A lot of people don’t realize that it’s bad etiquette to hog photo worthy vantage points. So, don’t commandeer views or take too long taking photos of places where there’s no people.
Refrain from sitting and having your coffee or taking 50 million photos of the same spot.
And, speaking of photography, be kind and offer others your awesome smartphone photography skills! Offer to take their photos with the wildflowers and then ask them to take yours.
And lastly, be mindful of others taking photos. Don’t get in other people’s photos. Be patient while other flower peepers are taking their shots. Trust me, those flowers aren’t going to wilt or close in 30 seconds.
Take nothing but photographs
It’s illegal to take any artifacts or natural resources from any National Park or State Park. But, that rule should apply anywhere regardless if it’s in a government managed park, commercial or private property.
In other words, if you didn’t bring it, don’t take it…except for trash! Always take trash!
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Wrapping up wildflower etiquette
Common sense and common courtesy are key to an enjoyable super bloom wildflower season for all. We hope you get outside and enjoy the many natural wonders out there; including our amazing wildflower super blooms! But, we all need to keep our manners in check by following these wildflower etiquette tips.
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