Lake Elsi­nore de­clares end to su­per bloom

The Tribune (SLO) - - NEIGHBOR - Lind­seyHolden:805-781-7939, @lind­seymholden

Lake Elsi­nore — a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia city that was ground zero for this year’s “poppy palooza” — has de­clared an end to the area’s wild­flower su­per bloom.

Hundreds of thou­sands of vis­i­tors be­gan to swarm the Riverside County town in late Fe­bru­ary and early March af­ter Cal­i­for­nia poppies and other wild­flow­ers be­gan bloom­ing in nearby Walker Canyon.

Lake Elsi­nore of­fi­cials tried to close the area to the “Dis­ney­land-size crowds,” but quickly re­al­ized they didn’t have enough re­sources to keep it shut down. Even­tu­ally, they closed cer­tain roads, cre­ated park­ing ar­eas and in­stated a $10 shut­tle ser­vice for flower tourists.

Now, nearly a month later, the city is with­draw­ing its additional re­sources, cit­ing a fad­ing bloom and a de­crease in vis­i­tor traf­fic, ac­cord­ing to a Mon­day news re­lease.

Re­cently, 4,658 vis­i­tors took the shut­tle to Walker Canyon — down from the 12,062 tourists the shut­tle trans­ported dur­ing the weekend of March 30 and 31. City per­son­nel will mon­i­tor the wild­flower area for il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity, but no additional re­sources will be de­voted to Walker Canyon dur­ing the weekend or on weekdays, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. Of­fi­cials ex­pect vis­i­tor ac­tiv­ity to ta­per off soon.

“The su­per bloom has been un­like any event we have ever ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore,” Mayor Steve Manos said in the re­lease. “The ex­treme beauty of our hill­sides that drew at­ten­tion from around the world is now di­min­ish­ing quickly, and our res­i­dents sure are ea­ger for things to get back to nor­mal.”

HUNDREDS OF THOU­SANDS OF VIS­I­TORS BE­GAN TO S WARM THE RIVERSIDE COUNTY TOWN IN LATE FE­BRU­ARY AND EARLY MARCH AF­TER CAL­I­FOR­NIA POPPIES AND OTHER WILD­FLOW­ERS BE­GAN BLOOM IN GIN NEARBY WALKER CANYON.

Gre­go­ryBull/AP

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