A Wild Month

Message From The Director

Spring has sprung and there’s no better time to explore your state parks! Our focus for May is truly wild. As in flowers, wildflowers! May is the perfect time to explore the subtle reminders of spring and the approaching summer in our parks.

Too often, wildflowers are overlooked as they are usually just off the trail, or peaking through the fallen leaves from the winter that is but a memory, or competing with the other sights of spring in the parks.

But there is one “wildflower” that celebrates the season with a spectacular display of beauty that demands your complete attention. The flower is the Rocky Shoals Spider Lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) and the place is Landsford Canal State Park. Take a day away from the grind and take a walk in the woods along a newly created trail that follows the Catawba River to the observation deck. This is a great spot that overlooks the place where nature puts on a spectacular array of natural beauty that rivals the colors of fall in the mountains. Talk about beautiful wildflowers!

These lilies truly represent the concept of wild and free - not only the flowers themselves, but their unique habitat where the rocky shoals of the mighty Catawba provide just the right ingredient for this showy plant.

As you look out over the home of one of the world’s largest populations of the Rocky Shoals Spider Lily, your eyes appear to be playing tricks on you as the view looks as if a blanket of snow dots the river with spectacular beauty. The warm breezes and green canopy from the giant trees above tell you different.

It’s May and you quickly realize the blanket of snow is actually the lilies.

The view takes your breath away, but the wind whispers at your back telling you to take in the sights and sounds, to sit down and take a moment to reflect, a moment to recharge your batteries.

The silence is anything but, as the sounds of birds fill the air and the mighty Catawba provides harmony for nature’s symphony.  What a show! On your way back you notice things that you missed on the way to the overlook - remnants of the old canal, and yes, those wildflowers that are a little less flamboyant than the ones you just saw, but profound in their announcement of warm weather and the opportunities that await you at a state park near you.

See wildflowers, have great fun, and make memories that will last a lifetime. I hope you’ll visit us soon because there’s never been a better time to…

Come out and play!

Phil Gaines, Director