LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA) — The superbloom boom continued in Lake Elsinore this weekend, but crowds looked much more orderly after new rules were put in place for the flood of visitors.
A new strategy developed after hordes of people descended on Lake Elsinore to view the abundant fields of California poppies blooming in the hills of Lake Elsinore was largely successful, a Lake Elsinore spokesperson said. The new rules included limiting access routes, and a $10 per ticket shuttle service to contain vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Mayor Steve Manos looked much more relaxed as he described the much less crowded scene at Walker Canyon in a video posted to the city’s Facebook page Sunday.
“No cars stopped on the side, no backups onto the offramps,” he said. “But everybody here seems really happy, everyone’s saying wonderful things about our city, and I can’t say more about how happy that makes us.”
Heavy rain throughout the winter fueled the huge bloom of flowers in Lake Elsinore, which has been a destination for thousands of people every warm and dry day this month. Last weekend, Walker Canyon was shut down when an estimated 50,000 people at any given time swamped the community, turning city roads into parking lots, prompted people to illegally park on the side of the 15 Freeway and led to several of the fragile poppy blooms to become trampled.
As many as 100,000 people visited the poppies last weekend, forcing city officials to shut off access to Walker Canyon, only to open it back up a day later. The city announced the new rules and the shuttle service from two locations, including the Lake Elsinore Outlets Mall, on Thursday. Up to 20,000 people visited the poppy fields Saturday, and an estimate was not available for Sunday, but two additional shuttle buses were added, and wait times were an hour or more by 10 a.m.