Lake Elsinore Prevents Repeat of 2019 “Super Bloom” Chaos with Walker Canyon Closure

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The city of Lake Elsinore in Southern California has announced the closure of its Walker Canyon in anticipation of the seasonal bloom of wild poppies. The city experienced a “super bloom” of poppies in 2019, which drew in thousands of visitors, causing gridlocks, overcrowding, and even environmental damage. To prevent a repeat of the chaos, the city has closed the trails, roads, and parking areas surrounding Walker Canyon and will not be running shuttles to the location. The closure of Walker Canyon is a result of the increasing issue of overtourism, where popular destinations are being forced to shut down due to excessive tourist traffic.

Mayor Natasha Johnson stated that while Lake Elsinore typically welcomes visitors to enjoy its vibrant community and boost its economy, the visitors to Walker Canyon in 2019 resulted in a cost that was too high for the residents and wildlife. Riverside Sheriff Chad Bianco warned that any visitors to the canyon could face steep penalties and even arrest as they will be implementing a zero-tolerance policy for trespassing and parking on the sides of the roadways.

The closure of Walker Canyon has received mixed reactions from the public, with some residents being disappointed while others are glad to avoid gridlocks. Some have criticized the city for missing out on the opportunity to make money from the phenomenon, but Mayor Johnson stressed that the city’s main focus is the safety and preservation of its community.

For those looking to enjoy the beauty of the wild poppies, the city has live video footage of Walker Canyon available on its website. Mayor Johnson encourages visitors to focus on the Super Bowl and not the “super bloom” that is not happening this year. With the new rules of travel, it is important to respect the efforts being made to preserve natural resources and to avoid being an overtourist.

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