Travel

Death Valley Wildflowers Begin Annual Show

Tuesday Mar 15, 2011

DEATH VALLEY, Calif., March, 2011 - It has started. The annual wildflower bloom in California's Death Valley National Park has begun with a bloom of Desert Gold wildflowers on a hilly area of volcanic earth north of Ashford Mill near Furnace Creek Resort.

Although this year's bloom is not expected to surpass the breathtaking 2005 bloom - called the "Bloom of the Century" by many - it is still an event that is highly anticipated by visitors and residents alike because it heralds in a magnificent way the arrival of spring.

"This will be the 14th wildflower season that I will experience, and it never loses its appeal," said Phil Dickinson, director of sales and marketing at the Furnace Creek Resort. "Even if the bloom is not abundant, it is a welcome sign of spring when the wildflowers start to appear in this rugged desert park. The best way to discover wildflower displays is to leave your car and explore the park on foot."

Death Valley National Park's wildflower bloom typically begins in February at the lowest elevations of the park and usually continues through April, and in some higher elevations, as late as June. The National Park Service posts a wildflower update online at http://www.nps.gov/deva/naturescience/wildflower-update-2011.htm.

From mid-February through mid-April, the best viewing opportunities are near the Inn at Furnace Creek and other lower elevation sites. The early blooming species include Desert Star, Desert Gold, Poppies, Verbena and Evening Primrose. By early April, the Panamint Mountains and other higher elevation sites begin a showy bloom of Paintbrush, Lupine, Joshua Tree and Panamint Daisies. By late April, the highest elevations of the Panamint Mountains sprout Mojave Wildrose, Rabbitbrush, Mariposa Lilies and Lupine.

Average rainfall in the 3.3 million acre park is 1.9 inches. The most spectacular wildflower bloom in recent years was the spring of 2005 when the park had 6.5 inches, an unusual amount of rain. The park has only received .65 inches of rain since July 1, 2010, however.

Death Valley National Park is within driving distance of Las Vegas and Southern California. The park is one of the hottest, driest and lowest places in North America. Death Valley is the largest park in the lower 48 states.

"Even if this is not a banner year for wildflowers, we can be assured that we will see some color along the valley floor and on the hillsides," said Dickinson.

Death Valley National Park is within driving distance of Las Vegas and Southern California. The park is known as a land of extremes and is one of the hottest, driest and lowest places in North America. Death Valley is the largest park in the lower 48 states, yet it typically draws about 850,000 visitors per year, providing an uncrowded experience for visitors. By comparison, the nation's second-largest park in the lower 48 states - Yellowstone National Park - hosts some 3 million visitors annually. More information about Death Valley National Park can be found at http://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm.

The Furnace Creek Resort has been welcoming guests since the 1930s. Open from mid-October through mid-May, the Inn at Furnace Creek is an AAA Four Diamond-rated property featuring 66 rooms and two suites with a full array of amenities, fine dining, tennis courts and a spring-fed pool. Open year-round is the Ranch at Furnace Creek. Situated adjacent to the golf course, the Ranch features 224 rooms in a casual setting, general store, spring-fed swimming pool, tennis courts, horseback riding and the Borax Museum.

Xanterra Parks & ResortsĀ® (consisting of several affiliated Xanterra entities) operates lodges, restaurants and other concessions at national parks and state parks and resorts. Xanterra Parks & Resorts is the country's largest park concessioner. Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates concessions in the following locations: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Crater Lake, Death Valley, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., and eight Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio's Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been committed to the preservation and protection of the environment for many years. Through its environmental program, "Ecologix," Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been recognized repeatedly for environmental leadership in the hospitality industry and is the recipient of many honors, including major awards from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Travel Industry Association of America, American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Parks Conservation Association, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Colorado Department of Public Health, State of Arizona, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information about facilities in Death Valley National Park or to make reservations at Furnace Creek Resort, go to www.furnacecreekresort.com or call toll free 1-800-236-7916 or 1-303-297-2757.

For more information about Xanterra Parks & Resorts, links to individual properties and reservations numbers, visit www.xanterra.com.

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