Lottery opens for Hanford Reach wildflower tours
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE NEWS RELEASE -- This spring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will again host wildflower tours on the Hanford Reach National Monument. Last year's tours were so popular the number of tours will double from four to eight. This year's tours are April 25th and 27th and May 8th and 10th.
In 2013, the tours were on a first-come, first-served basis and filled in 21 seconds. This year, the agency will instead conduct an online lottery. "Last year the demand was so great that the servers couldn't keep up," said Larry Klimek, Hanford Reach National Monument Manager. "A lot of people were frustrated, so we've taken great care to make the registration process as smooth and accessible as possible."
The tours are within the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve of the Monument and may include the top of Rattlesnake Mountain, weather permitting. Viewing stops are planned along the tour route.
Weather will also play a decisive role in the quality and quantity of the wildflower show. "We're a bit concerned that the wildflowers may not be as spectacular due to the very dry spring we're having," added Klimek. "However, there are always things to see and learn about on the Monument. Even in an off year, the plants are worth seeing, and the guides are knowledgeable on a variety of topics related to the Monument."
Registration for the lottery will open Tuesday morning, April 1st, and run through 3:00 p.m. on April 14th. Winners will be notified by email by April 16th. There will be a $3 entry fee to offset some of the costs to conduct the tours and to make the tours affordable to everyone. The tour registration site is www.fws.gov/hanfordreach/wildflowers/.