The California rainy season was especially strong this year which has created an almost unprecedented wildflower bloom. The Poppy, in particular, has bloomed in abundance blanketing Southern California mountainsides and drawing lookie-loos, tourists and locals all seeking to experience this potentially once-in-a-lifetime bloom – and snap a photo or two.
It’s also created all sorts of problems for the community of Lake Elsinore who is attempting to deal with the insane amounts of traffic the bloom has brought. The city has reported “Disneyland size” crowds. Parking issues, a reported rattlesnake bite and a city worker being hit by a visitor. have plagued Lake Elsinore as noted by the Mayor in a plea for assistance.
The Emergency Operation Center has even been activated to deal with the crisis! The City’s Instagram account posted the following message yesterday:
“The City has expended all available resources to address the #SuperBloom. We have brought in all available staff, as many outside traffic controllers that we could, more shuttles, and our small City can not sustain crowds of this magnitude – our City is not made for Disneyland size crowds. We have reached out to our neighboring and county agencies for help. We have reached out to Caltrans. We have reached out to CHP. We are running out of options.”
As someone who lives very close to the Poppy bloom I can attest it’s especially spectacular this year! And it’s been very busy with the freeways slammed by neck turners and people pulling off the side of the freeway to take pictures (which is illegal).
Walker Canyon – the area near Lake Elsinore where the bloom is really amazing – is a huge draw for Poppy fans. But, the city is clearly unable to deal with this level of interest and has started issuing pleas for assistance and posting advice and suggestions on their social media:
- “Residents: Please we need your help and understanding. This is beyond our control. So please stay out of this area and stay off local roads if possible.
- Visitors: If you can come another day or a weekday, please do. The wait times are increasing, the shuttles are stuck in traffic, and we encourage you to consider waiting for another day.”
Fortunately, for us locals, we can see the Poppys in other less popular areas and avoid the chaos. As a local, there is absolutely ZERO chance we will dealing with that chaos! 🙂
For those attempting to visit the Poppys please be safe, be smart, only park in designated areas and if possible go on a weekday. Be courteous to fellow drivers and definitely to city staff who are stressed and doing the best they can. Make sure to check out the City of Lake Elsinore’s Facebook page for current conditions before making your trip.
Pro Tip: Lake Elsinore is offering free shuttle service to visit the Poppy’s in an attempt to mitigate parking and traffic issues.
For more travel related news, check out our travel news section.
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