LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (AP/KSBY) — Overwhelming crowds forced authorities to shut down viewing of a super bloom of poppies on hills around a small Southern California city.
The city of Lake Elsinore closed access to Walker Canyon and canceled shuttle service after a massive traffic jam developed Sunday.
The city initially tweeted that roads were jammed, traffic on Interstate 15 had stopped moving and law enforcement assistance was requested from neighboring jurisdictions to deal with the crush.
The city then shut down access, saying the weekend had become unbearable.
The super bloom resulting from extremely wet winter was originally met with excitement in the community about a 90-minute drive from both Los Angeles and San Diego.
But problems surfaced, including people leaving trails and trampling flowers.
And #poppyshutdown began spreading on Twitter.
In San Luis Obispo County, people are also starting to gather at Carrizo Plain National Monument. While many yellow flowers have popped up, officials say the peak of the Super Bloom there likely won’t happen until April.
Crowds were already lined up this morning and increasing. So far, all is running smoothly but shuttle wait times are an hour and a half at this time. The City continues to make the best of the crowds due to the #SuperBloom. Again, we urge visitors to consider other spring time activities today. #LakeElsinore
#PoppyShutdown: The situation has escalated beyond our available resources. 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 get traffic moving. We will evaluate all options next week including ways to shut this down. Thank you for your understanding. We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community. #SuperBloom #PoppyNightmare #IsItOver #HanginthereLE