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Please don't stop and smell the flowers at Fort Hunter Liggett, Army says — we're training

Fort Hunter Liggett is shown in this 2019 photo.

U.S. ARMY

By KAYTLYN LESLIE | The Tribune | Published: May 4, 2019

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — If you’re still searching for that perfect wildflower picture, don’t go to Fort Hunter Liggett.

The Army installation, situated east of the Los Padres National Forest, is in the midst of a training exercise that will bring heavy commercial and military traffic to the area, according to Public Affairs Officer Amy Phillips.

Because of the heavy traffic, the base is asking people to avoid stopping and parking along the roads leading up to it — something that has happened more recently while the area experiences a super bloom of wildflowers that has visitors stopping to grab pictures before the blossoms disappear.

“Yes, the flowers are pretty, but there are plenty at Los Padres National Forest to be enjoyed,” Phillips wrote in an email to The Tribune on Friday.

In a follow-up email, Phillips added that the outpost’s police encounter “at least a handful a day of people stopping to take photos” of the wildflowers and assembled troops.

This can cause problems along the narrow roads where the extra-wide vehicles could graze and damage parked cars.

Phillips warned that parking along the roads in the area is also a fire hazard because of the dry grass.

Last month, the military installation also issued a warning asking people to stay on paved roads and not drive or walk on dirt roads to take photos.

Phillips said many people unsafely stop along Nacimiento-Fergusson Road near the base as they search for photo opportunities.

“We have trespassers, poachers,” she wrote. “It’s dangerous with military training going on, hunters, snakes, etc. — and then there’s the fire aspect.”

In short, if you’re hoping to get a few last pictures with the wildflowers before they disappear, maybe do so at the nearby national forest, not an active military installation.

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