An explosion of California poppies in the hills surrounding a Southern California town has attracted “ Disneyland-size crowds,” forcing city officials to close the wildflower-viewing area.
The city of Lake Elsinore declared the situation “unbearable,” shutting off access to Walker Canyon and canceling shuttle service as a massive traffic jam developed.
The area was reopened late Monday morning with a warning that “parking is extremely limited.”
“We truly understand how difficult this natural phenomenon has been on our residents,” a message on the city’s Facebook page reads. “This is something unlike anything we have ever experienced in our City and may never again.”
The city initially shared a message on Saturday, discouraging people from coming to the area as traffic on Interstate 15, that passes by the Riverside County town, stopped moving.
“We have brought in all available staff, as many outside traffic controllers that we could, more shuttles, and our small City can not sustain crowds of this magnitude,” the message reads. “The wait times are increasing, the shuttles are stuck in traffic, and we encourage you to consider waiting for another day.”
But throngs of wildflower-obsessed tourists continued to descend on the area, leading to a complete shutdown.