California Poppies are Blooming, Here are Some Tips for All!

Look, they look amazing but respect the nature, watch where you are driving, quit backing up traffic, and tell your teens that the selfies on the side of the freeway isn't the smartest move.

From Firefighter Joe F:

The California Poppies are blooming once again in Lake Elsinore. My beautiful wife and I wandered over there today to take in the beauty, and we even spotted Natasha Johnson Lake Elsinore Councilwoman out there chatting it up with residents and visitors alike. The Walker Canyon area, which flanks Intersate 15 between Lake Street and Nichols Road, gets inundated with the flowers every year, especially during years of heavy rainfall. They are extremely beautiful and it is a really cool experience to see them in person, but there are a few things you must know before you venture out to the area for yourself. For the last two years, the area was slammed with visitors from all around Southern California after posts about the blooms went viral on social media. People were parking along the sides of the I-15 and the off-ramps, throwing tons of garbage on the ground, impeding traffic and being extremely unsafe along the roadway, and trampling the flowers in order to obtain the perfect selfie. This year, the City of Lake Elsinore is better prepared for the influx of spectators, and is asking everyone to "preserve while you observe." The area is part of the Riverside County Open Spaces and Multi-species Preserve network, and is off limits to any mechanized travel off of the roadway (no vehicles, no bicycles, no hoverboards, etc.). Animals are also off limits, so as much as you'd love to get that ultimate photo of your fur babies among the flowers, please leave them at home for this trip. Parallel parking is allowed all along Walker Canyon Road off the Lake Street exit, and a few areas along the road have been designated as turn-around points - no parking is permitted along Lake Street, along the sides of Interstate 15, or on any of the on or off ramps. Temporary trash cans have also been placed along the roadway every couple of hundred feet, and a large electronic sign directs motorists where to park. Finally, it is very important that you remain on the designated trails and walking paths, and do not venture out into the large areas of flowers or trample any of them. All of these photos were taken from the various walkways and trails - there is no reason to walk in the flowers and trample them. To keep the order and ensure that everyone follows the rules, the Riverside County Sheriffs Department Lake Elsinore Division has a couple of deputies assigned as "poppy patrol," and the County of Riverside has a park ranger on duty as well. The area will get slammed with visitors over the next several weekends, so BRING YOUR PATIENCE and be prepared to sit in some traffic and hunt for a place to park. With everyone's cooperation, the area will remain open to be enjoyed for years to come.


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