Wildflowers to be showcased at Pictured Rocks

MUNISING – A series of wildflower walks is set to take place later this month at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to help celebrate “Celebrating Wildflowers Week.”

Celebrating Wildflowers is a national program created by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in response to public interest about the conservation and management of native plants. Forest Service officials said celebrating wildflowers brings awareness to the role public lands play as a reservoir for much of America’s native plant diversity.

The walks will be led by Hiawatha National Forest botanist Deb LeBlanc and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore interpreter Andrea Chynoweth and will take place along Miners Castle Road.

The road is located east of Munising off Alger County Highway 58 and provides access to Miners Castle, Miners River and Miners Beach. The northern hardwood forests along the roadway are home to numerous spring wildflower species, including common favorites like trilliums and forget-me-nots.

LeBlanc will lead walks on May 24 and May 31. Participants will meet at 1 p.m. at the Hiawatha National Forest-Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore interagency visitor center, located in Munising at the intersection of H-58 and M-28.

Attendees will receive a short overview of the native plant program prior to driving to Miners Castle Road.

Several stops will be made along Miners Castle Road to take short, easy walks into each wildflower viewing spot. Forest Service officials said the area along the road provides one of the most diverse mixes of spring wildflowers found in the central Upper Peninsula.

LeBlanc’s walks will last 2 to 2.5 hours and will include easy identification tips for area spring wildflowers, unique plant characteristics, northern hardwood forest ecology and techniques for photographing wildflowers.

Chynoweth will lead wildflower walks on May 25 and June 1. Participants will meet at 1 p.m. at the Miners Castle Information Station at the end of Miners Castle Road in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The hour-long leisurely stroll will include wildflower identification, northern hardwood forest ecology, and the impact of invasive species.

Organizers said comfortable walking shoes are recommended for the walks; be prepared for bugs; bring water and your camera.

For more information contact the interagency visitor center at 387-3700.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.