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Steamboat Magazine

Local Knowledge: Gayle Lehman

02/24/2017 11:26AM ● By Dan Greeson

Gayle Lehman has been a supervisor at the six-acre Yampa River Botanic Park since 1997. The park is open from dawn until dusk, May 1-Oct. 31. Admission is free. Photo courtesy of Gayle Lehman.

What are the first wildflowers to bloom in the Yampa Valley? 

Glacier Lilies: they have big, yellow, showy flowers and are the earliest to bloom. Look for them in spots where there is melting snow, all summer long. 

Where is your favorite place to hike in early summer to see wildflowers? 

Red Dirt Trail – FS trail 1171 is accessible from County Road 129 (Elk River Road). The west-facing slope has many flowers among the sagebrush and scrub oak before the snow melts under the trees.

Are there any guided hikes you can recommend to learn more about the flora and fauna of the area?

Yampatika offers a wide range of interpretive walks on topics from wildflowers to bird life. Yampa River Botanic Park offers guided tours of the park on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. from mid-June until mid-August.

When does the Yampa River Botanic Park come to life after the snow melts?

Usually by opening day, or by May 1. Sometimes the spring bulbs will push through the snow.

Do you have a favorite flower that is native to this area?

Trillium ovatum are native to the Park Range. They bloom in spring in the coniferous forest. We have some in the Yampa River Botanic Park and it’s the park’s logo.

What are your favorite summer events at the Yampa Valley Botanic Park?

Yoga on the Green – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 a.m. Music on the Green on Thursdays from 12:15-1 p.m. from mid-June until mid-August. Social Gardening is our morning for volunteers on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until noon. Look for a variety of workshops on gardening activities during the summer.