Stories From California

Super-Bloom and Desert Love - Remembering Steve Bier


"You can fall in love with the desert which happened with me the first time I topped the rise of that hill. The view just goes on forever."
Steve Bier, March 17, 2017 Borrego Springs


The first thing I saw was Steve Bier's wide, friendly smile under his big-rimmed ranger's hat. He stepped out of his truck, handing me a water bottle before shaking my hand. I had come to Borrego Springs to report about the record wildflower bloom for German public radio. I had not arranged for an interview with a ranger. Steve volunteered to give me the information I needed. I am sure thousands of tasks were waiting for him as visitors poured into Anza Borrego desert from all parts of the world. But Steve took his time, telling us the most wonderful stories about flowers, creatures, pollination and climate change while in between making sure an ambulance got to a stranded and dehydrated hiker in the nearby mountains. 

While my friend and photographer Dirk Rohrbach took pictures, Steve talked to me about his love for the desert and why a city guy like him ended up in a remote place like this. 

I still cannot believe Steve is no longer with us, will not tell more stories, not educate more visitors about the desert's secrets and will never enjoy the vista of crossing the hills towards Borrego Springs again. In his interview he said, he fell in love with this place the first time he came up to the mountain's top and always had to pull over in his car to take in this view.

I will cherish my memories of our short encounter with Steve  forever and want to share a few of them with this excerpt from my interview and some of the pictures Dirk took.

A memorial service will be held for Ranger Steve Bier May 1st, 10 AM at Borrego Springs High School football field.

You can support his family with a donation here (link no longer available).


pink flower

yellow flowers

green flower

steve and me

[The Super Bloom Story for German Radio Deutschlandfunk Kultur]

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