The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY KAYTLYN LESLIE

Please don’t stop and smell the flow­ers – at Fort Hunter Liggett any­way. The mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tion is con­duct­ing training ex­er­cises.

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 wild­flow“at ers 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 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 ex­traw­ide 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.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @Kaytyleslie

Cour­tesy of Fort Hunter Liggett

A field of scented lupines blooms along Nacimien­toFer­gus­son Road near Fort Hunter Liggett.

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