If you live in California (like I do) then you’ve been blessed to witness the most beautiful super bloom in years – along with a tornado of butterflies everywhere you go.
Tourists and local Instagrammers have flocked to the hills of California to check out the supreme super bloom themselves. So many people are going crazy over the flowers that they’ve actually caused problems for the city of Lake Elsinore.
Last weekend in Lake Elsinore, which is located in Southern California, city officials had to shut down Walker Canyon. The area was completely safe – no mudslides or fires, this time at least.
Instead, the problem was an overabundance of people coming to see the overabundance of poppies.
Thousands of people from near and far came to the area last weekend to see the super bloom in Lake Elsinore. The flowers are wildly blooming right along the 15 freeway, creating a remarkable display of bright color.
As a result, The Washington Post reported that travelers were creating a public safety crisis – yikes!
Lake Elsinore isn’t a hot tourist spot on your average weekend. It’s very inland – and over an hour from Disneyland. Yet, Disneyland-sized crowds swarmed the usually quiet region that’s home to a humble 66,000 people.
Crowds blocked freeway exits and created long lines of traffic that frustrated locals trying to run their regular errands.
The city released a statement on Sunday via social media that read:
“This weekend has been unbearable…We will evaluate all options next week including ways to shut this down…We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community.”
The hashtag #PoppyShutdown was used to make light of the overwhelming situation that “escalated beyond our available resources.”
At a certain point, the city started turning down all shuttles and visitors trying to enter the park.
To add to the chaos, there was one injury reported as visitors scrambled to get the perfect Instagram shot on the steep cliffsides where the flowers are in full bloom. Plus, another visitor was bit by a rattlesnake.
People were spotted hiking to dangerous locations, often with pets and kids in tow.
A lot of the madness has to do with our picture-crazy world in which everyone wants the best photo to add to their profile – and they are willing to take risks and cause a scene to snag it.
The flowers are more beautiful than they’ve been in years. Which is no surprise after all of the rain southern California has been subjected to over the past couple months.
At long last, we are out of the drought and our landscapes are more beautiful than ever.
The city of Lake Elsinore was expecting some traffic to come through, but they weren’t nearly prepared for all of the people that showed up.
They were expecting around 50,000 visitors. Instead, they ended up with far more – and twice as many as the weekend prior.
The city stretched all available resources until they couldn’t stretch any more. “Our small City can not sustain crowds of this magnitude…We are running out of options,” they wrote on Instagram.
In another social media post Lake Elsinore City Hall wrote:
“Our employees that have been working 7 days straight and 12 hour days are being met with the worst kinds of behavior.”
People traveled a long way to see the super bloom, and so needless to say, they were pissed after being told to turn around and blamed the only people they could… the city workers just trying to do their jobs.
The whole situation sucked for everyone. At least the flowers are right off the highway, so even if you were turned away from the park, you still got a chance to see the super bloom in all its glory.
“We’re short-handed. One of our employees was hit and run by a driver. A rattlesnake bit a visitor. Residents have been screaming at the people directing traffic,” wrote Lake Elsinore’s Mayor Steve Manos.
The poppies should still be in full bloom next weekend, especially since it’s already rained some this week. Although, the canyon is shut down and if similar-sized crowds arrive again, the tale won’t be any different.
Luckily, there are plenty of other places along Interstate 15 where you can see the super bloom. Or, simply head to Texas where they are having the best bluebonnet bloom in 10 years.