There are many reasons visitors come to tour with Seneca White Deer at Deer Haven Park. Some seek knowledge regarding the 75-plus years of mysterious military secrets kept hidden within its original 24-mile fenced and once heavily guarded perimeter. Others seek glimpses of wildlife in their natural habitat as their lives unfold in daily routines and adventures. Yet others seek sanctuary, if only for a few hours, from the hustle and bustle of life ... to breathe fresh air, listen to the breeze filter through leaves as songbirds harmonize, and to experience their shoulders drop as a multitude of worries all seem to collectively dissipate.

These reasons are understandably valid, and as anyone who has participated in a tour will tell you, there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. However, there is yet another reason blooming beyond the fence that warrants attention: July has birthed an enormous abundance of wildflowers. Over 20 varieties and still counting! The grounds have simply exploded in a multitude of vibrant hues and deep, earthy fragrances that only wildflowers can deliver.

Fields of wildflowers encompass a world all their own. Grasshoppers and praying mantis find home here, as do ladybugs. Hummingbirds relish this time of year for nectar, as do the bees for pollen, and the butterflies — what a display of artistic beauty all wrapped up in the splendor that is their summertime outdoor theater.

Mornings find the sun’s rays glistening off each dew enriched blossom, embracing individual fragrances in each nourishing droplet and then relinquishing such to the air as evaporation gives way to the day’s shimmering light.

As visitors disembark tour buses near fields of flowers in bloom, a scene reminiscent of Dorothy opening the door into the Land of Oz unfolds. The view is breathtaking. Add to this July’s frolicking white and brown fawns visibly wiling the hours away as they partake in the delicacies of wildflower blooms, and the scene becomes surreal. All of the park’s abundant wildlife are totally oblivious to how exquisite they appear among such a scenic backdrop.

During photograph and hiking tours, this reality is even closer at hand as visitors can experience this depth of beauty up close. What a blessed existence when one ponders how this land has survived centuries of upheaval, has been burnt to stubble more than once, ravaged of its trees and wildlife, abused, abandoned, and taken for granted. Still, Earth stands to prove that it is an amazing, thriving entity able to consistently and efficiently heal and reproduce.

To witness the July beauty that abounds on this acreage right now, one would never know what troubles the land has once endured. SWD’s tour guides will share this history with you as you tour, but to see is to believe. This part of the former Seneca Army Depot acreage has evolved into a sanctuary, warm and inviting.

Certainly you owe it to yourself to stop and smell the wildflowers. Isn’t it time you venture into the nature that exists at the park and witness an incomparable part of your world? Be assured, you will walk away awe-inspired and revived. It is simply amazing what a tour, whether on bus or on foot, can do for your heart, mind, and soul. Come partake in the wonders that lie beyond the fence in July, take time to breathe deep, and allow nature to reconnect with the true inner you.

Dee Calvasina is a freelance writer and monthly columnist who commends the conservation efforts of SWD at Deer Haven Park. Secure your bus, hiking, biking or private tour tickets now at; by visiting the Welcome Center on Rte. 96A in Romulus; or by calling (315) 759-8220. Your tax deductible contributions are greatly needed and appreciated as SWD is a non-for-profit entity whose cause survives on contributions. Like SWD on Facebook.

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