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Lake Elsinore officials announce plans to address Walker Canyon super bloom visitors

Posted at 12:34 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-22 07:40:20-04

(KGTV) - Officials in Lake Elsinore outlined their plans on how to deal with the thousands of people who are gathering in the city to view a super bloom of poppies.

Earlier this week, city officials temporarily closed down public access to the Walker Canyon area due to a massive influx of visitors in town for a glimpse of the natural phenomenon. The decision was made to close off access because of damage caused in the poppy fields and traffic backups on surface streets and on Interstate 15 leading to the city.

Officials said they plan to increase traffic control on surface streets leading to the Walker Canyon poppy fields. Visitors can park along Walker Canyon Road.

While no roads will be closed Monday through Friday, officials said some surface streets to Walker Canyon, specifically Lake Street, will be shut down on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. The affected streets will be open for residents only.

RELATED: "Disneyland size crowds" shut down Southern California poppy bloom

In an effort to cut down on vehicle congestion around the area on the weekends, a shuttle service to the poppy fields will be available on Saturdays and Sundays for $10 per person over the age of 3.

Shuttles will be available at these locations:

-- Visitors from northbound I-15 exit Nichols Road, then make a right turn to a dirt lot (10000 Nichols Road) for shuttle pickup
-- Visitors from southbound I-15 exit Nichols Road; shuttle pickup is at the Outlets at Lake Elsinore (17600 Collier Ave.)

The first shuttle will be available at 6:30 a.m., with the last shuttle available at 5 p.m. The final shuttle taking visitors back to their vehicles will be at 7 p.m.

Mayor Steve Manos said that the city recognizes that the super bloom has become a “social media viral event attracting thousands” to Lake Elsinore, but he warned that they would not hesitate to shut down access again if things were to get out of hand.

Officials are reminding the public that as the super bloom continues to be an attraction in Lake Elsinore, drivers traveling on I-15 should expect delays between Corona and Murrieta.

Visitors are being urged to stay patient, follow all road detours, use any alternative routes and to be respectful of area residents.

For anyone visiting Walker Canyon, Riverside County Regional Parks officials advise:

-- stay on trails
-- bring water
-- have good shoes
-- be prepared to walk lengthy distances and know your physical limitations
-- do not bring drones
-- do not pick flowers
-- be aware of wildlife in the area

City officials posted complete information on their website.