The McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville is getting ready for a burst of color, as 30 acres of sunflowers are expected to bloom within the next two weeks.
Ideal viewing times may begin July 22-23, and the peak time to see the sunflowers begins July 29-30. Sunflowers are usually in full bloom for two weeks. The sunflowers are taking longer than normal to bloom this year due to weather conditions and bloom times are only estimates.
The sunflowers are planted in nine different fields each spring as a food source for wildlife, particularly Mourning Doves, as part of the wildlife management program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. For this reason, visitors are asked to not pick the sunflowers, as it reduces the amount of seed available to wildlife.
“When the sunflowers go into full bloom they are a very popular place to visit,” Maryland Natural Resources Biologist Candice Collison said. “People come from miles away and plan vacations well in advance to try and catch the view. You can regularly see the fields full of amateur and professional photographers, along with painters. It is quite the sight.”
While the area is open to the public, visitors should be advised that the area does not have amenities such as garbage cans, restrooms, shelters or tables. Additionally, anyone walking through the area should protect themselves against the elements, namely mosquitoes, poison ivy, ticks and – of course – the sun. Long pants and hiking shoes are recommended.
Located on River Road in Montgomery County, the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area is a 2,000-acre tract in a mixture of woodlands, fields, wooded bottomland and managed wetlands. The area shares a common boundary with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and borders Seneca Creek State Park.
The McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area is a public hunting property, although currently no major hunting seasons are in place in Maryland. The Mourning Dove season opens on Sept. 1.
Top: The Sunflower Fields at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area will be at peak bloom between July 29 and should be in bloom for two weeks.
Photo by RMBPhotography.
Next: A beautiful sunflower. Photo by Maryann Gray.