Wildflowers are starting to pop up in lower elevations of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. 

They're currently becoming widespread in spots such as the Ski Hill area near Leavenworth and the Echo Ridge trail system in the foothills above Lake Chelan. 

National Forest spokesperson Robin DeMario says the footprint of wildflowers will massively expand as the weather warms up. 

"As that snow continues to melt off throughout the summer, you'll have that followed by the wildflowers blooming once it dries out a little bit and it warms up," said DeMario. "So, definitely almost all the way through summer, you'll be able to see wildflowers at different elevations." 

Common flowers seen in the forest right now include yellow glacier lilies and little spring beauties, as well as buttercups and blue bells. 

DeMario says they're advising visitors to never pick wildflowers. 

"If you've ever picked a wildflower, you notice that they just wilt off almost immediately," DeMario said. "So, they aren't long lasting flowers. So, enjoy them. Take photos of them, because photos last a lot longer than wildflowers." 

The Forest Service is also asking the public to stay on the designated trails and avoid trampling on the flowers.  

In addition, removing annual wildflowers that bloom for only once a year and then die means there won’t be any seeds for the next year’s wildflower season. 

The Forest Service also advises that it’s difficult to distinguish between common, rare, and endangered species of wildflowers. Species that are in danger of extinction may look abundant to the casual observer. 

Wildflower viewing in the National Forest foothills is at its prime when the flowers have faded at lower elevations, and while snow still prevents access to trails at higher elevations. 

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