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Everyone Stop Driving to Lake Elsinore to Take ‘Super-Bloom’ Selfies, City Says

11:30 PM PDT on March 17, 2019

    [dropcap size=big]C[/dropcap]alling a weekend deluge of Instagram-seeking visitors to a wildflower-covered canyon "unbearable," the city of Lake Elsinore in western Riverside County has shut down access to the poppies until further notice.

    "The situation has escalated beyond our available resources," Lake Elsinore said on its City Hall Facebook page on Sunday. "No additional shuttles or visitors will be allowed into Walker Canyon. [...] We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community."

    #PoppyShutdown Traffic and an influx of visitors to see the #SuperBloom in Lake Elsinore has forced the city to take action. @gil_leyvas reports from Newschopper4 Bravo.

    — NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) March 18, 2019

    With spring arriving — and after this winter's heavy rainfall — wild California poppies in brilliant oranges and yellows have been springing up across the region. For the social-media obsessed, chasing the "superbloom" of wildflower growth at the start of spring has become something of a SoCal tradition.

    Lake Elsinore became a magnet due to an early slew of images from the regional hillsides showing them blanketed in brand-new orange poppies. Walker Canyon in the Temescal Mountains holds a trail into high desert chaparral, where the flowers are blooming.

    Some posts on social media observed trampled poppies, presumably by careless visitors who have been leaving established trails.

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    Per Lake Elsinore: #PoppyShutdown: The situation has escalated, No additional shuttles or visitors will be allowed into Walker Canyon. This weekend has been unbearable Lake Elsinore.Lake Street and Nichols ramps completely closed. We have to keep traffic moving.

    — Murrieta Police Dept (@MurrietaPD) March 18, 2019

    Over the weekend, an influx of more photo-seekers led to the creation of a shuttle service to the trailhead from a nearby shopping center (5.00 dollars a ride, waits up to 1 hour), but the traffic overall and congestion became too much, officials said. And they shut down all access late Sunday night.

    Lake Elsinore Mayor Steve Manos said in a video that traffic on I-15 was backed up in every direction, "solid."

    "We called it the Super Blossom, the Poppy Apocalypse, Poppypalooza, you can call it whatever you like, it's brought so many people, even more people today," Manos said.

    Yet the sights are indeed a wonder to behold. The poppy is the California state flower. Take a look at this Reuters reel of the bloom.

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