As DC cherry blossom peak bloom looms, group launches online camera for viewers

Cyclists ride past the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2020. The Trust for the National Mall will be making a cherry blossom webcam available as the flowers reach their peak later this month. (WTOP/Dan Friedell)

To avoid the spread of the coronavirus, things such as classes and tours of national parks are going online. The cherry blossoms in D.C. aren’t excluded.

Instead of heading to the Tidal Basin, you can view the cherry blossoms from your computer screen. In advance of peak bloom, the Trust for The National Mall said it has started a Bloom Cam, a live camera where the blossoms can be viewed.

The camera will provide a 24/7 digital view of the Tidal Basin as it erupts in a mosaic of pinks and whites.

“People do come from all over, and with all the latest precautions and self quarantines, it’s been encouraged to not come down. So we wanted to be able to bring the blooms to people across the country,” said Catherine Townsend, president and CEO of the trust.

Townsend said the nonprofit, which partners with the National Park Service to organize private support for the National Mall, teamed up with Earthcam to bring virtual visitors to the Tidal Basin.

The camera’s launch comes as people are urged not to visit the Tidal Basin because of the virus.

“An iconic symbol of Washington D.C. [are] the cherry blossoms, so it’s just really a sad time that the festival had to shut down many of its activities,” Townsend said.

Townsend said it took a week to set the camera up, and throughout its run, the trust plans to change the view to give visitors more angles of the Tidal Basin and its 3,700 cherry trees.

Peak bloom could come as early as Friday.

Metro closed two stations Thursday to prevent tourists visiting the cherry blossoms from crowding stations, it said.

For those who still plan to come down to see them in person, the National Park Service encourages people to make smart decisions and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of trees around the Tidal Basin.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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