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It's wildflower season in Colusa County foothills
The new wildflower tour map and photos from the 2010 wildflower season can be found at www.colusarcd.org.
Wildflower-viewing season is here.
The hills of Bear Valley and Walker Ridge in western Colusa County are known for spectacular wildflower showings.
While they may not be blanketed with fields of flowers this year, Sunday drivers looking for a treasure are sure to find brightly colored patches in full bloom over the next couple of weeks.
"It's a wonder that we have here in Bear Valley. It's a hugely well-known area for wildflowers and grasses," said Mary Fahey with the Colusa County Resource Conservation District.
Jim Keegan, who lives on Bear Valley Road off Highway 20, said the season this year is not at its best due to the cold and dry weather.
But by the middle of April and the following weeks, the flowers might be a better.
"April showers ..." he said.
Keegan used to host tours on his property showing off the flowers, including for Home and Garden Television.
"We had mules that would pull a wagon around and come back to a barbecue," he said.
He has quit hosting the tours because of the work involved. But still welcomes wildflower viewers and sells wildflower books about the area from his house.
Keegan recently installed a spring-loaded gate on his property, which he calls a wildflower access gate, to allow public access without letting the cattle out.
"It's hard for city people to shut a gate," Keegan said. While most of the property along Bear Valley is private, sightseers can still enjoy the view and walk along the road to see purple lupin, golden poppies and red paintbrush that dot the edges.
"In its prime, it's unbelievable," Keegan said.
A new wildflower tour map suggesting a route is available on the conservation district's website.
Also on the website is a weekly photo journal of flowers blooming in the area in the spring of 2010. It was created by Jack Anderson, who also created the driving route map.
The route runs from Highway 20, right on Bear Valley Road, then left on Brim Road. Motorists then head left onto Walker Ridge Road, which brings them back to the highway. The entire loop is about 38 miles and is generally passable by all types of vehicles.