Anza-Borrego Prepares For Record Bloom Just In Time For 50th Anniversary Celebration

Calling all botanical buffs! The recent rainfall is paying off in spades, especially when it comes to this season’s projected record bloom in Anza-Borrego State Park.

Timing for this influx of blossoms could not be more apropos, as it just so happens to coincide with Anza-Borrego Foundation‘s 50th anniversary of Park preservation. To commemorate this golden anniversary, Anza-Borrego Foundation is offering “BPC For Free”- select weekends of free access for new visitors to the Park’s most popular hiking trail, Borrego Palm Canyon.

For those who often begin to mentally check out at the mention of trigger words like “trail,” “hike,” “nature,” fear not! The BPC is a family-friendly three mile jaunt, packed with desert eye candy at every turn. Not surprising – as Anza-Borrego is home to 92 different plant families, 346 genera, and hundreds of flowering species.

Thanks to aforementioned record rainfall, these desert-dwelling beauties are sure to be flashing their wild colors more than ever. Couple that with weekend opportunities to see it all gratis, and you have the perfect excuse for a family day trip, or reason to pack a picnic with your significant other and hit the trails, literally.

The Anza-Borrego Foundation (ABF) has every reason to celebrate this bicentennial anniversary and their many accomplishments during that time, such as adding 54,000 acres to the Park, providing education programming for more than 13,000 children and adults, helping create the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center With University of California, Irvine, and funding the Stout Paleontology Laboratory and the Begole Archaeological Research Center.

ABF provides financial support for park programs, acquires land for conservation in and around the park, educates the public about the park’s resources, and supports research relevant to the region.

“For five decades, Anza-Borrego Foundation has supported the park, its natural landscapes, wildlife habitats and cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy,” said President Ernie Cowan. “We Hope BPC for Free will encourage new visitors to check out Borrego Palm Canyon, and explore the rest of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is free every day.”

The 83 year-old State Park, visited by one million nature lovers each year, would not be what it is today without ABF, and their steadfast emphasis on the importance of wildlife corridors. Wildlife corridors are links of wildlife habitat, usually native vegetation, that join two or more larger areas of similar wildlife habitat.

These corridors are absolutely critical for the maintenance of ecological processes, as they allow for the movement of animals, and the continuation of viable populations to come. Of course, these corridors would not be possible if not for ABF’s windfall success in land acquisitions over the years. ABF purchases land from willing sellers, and adds it to the State Park, and they have come quite a long way over the years!

To put things in perspective: When the park formed in the early 1930s, it was riddled with thousands of private acreage land inholdings, with one estimate as high as 60,000 acres, which is 10% of the entire park. Since 1967, ABF acquired more than 54,000 acres of those inholdings, as well as other properties, to add to the park. Long-story-long: Anza Borrego State Park would not be enjoyed by the one million people it is each year if not for ABF, and their lasting legacy.

Celebrate Anza-Borrego Foundation’s 50th year in park preservation by heading out for “BPC For Free,” happening March 25-26, and April 1-2. Passes are limited to 100 vehicles per weekend, and must be reserved in advance at www.theabf.org/BPCforfree.

ABF’s 50th anniversary celebration will take place Saturday, April 1, from 2-5pm at the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center. The Foundation will celebrate with good company, live music, food by Kesling’s Kitchen, all accompanied by a specialty 50th anniversary brew by Nickel Beer.

Tickets can be purchased for $55, and include a guest’s choice of one exclusive tour, beginning on the morning of April 1 before the main event.

Anza-Borrego Foundation sponsors include Bike Borrego, Borrego Outfitters, and La Casa del Zorro Resort & Spa. To learn more, plan your visit, become a member or volunteer, visit www.theabf.org.