SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – The crowds of people visiting Walker Canyon to see the poppy super bloom have been so overwhelming the City of Lake Elsinore on Sunday evening announced a poppy field "shutdown" before re-opening Monday with limited access and parking. In its Sunday Facebook post, the city had announced a complete shutdown of Walker Canyon – no viewing or visiting.
Authorities had closed Lake Street and Nichols freeway ramps, creating a traffic nightmare on northbound and southbound Interstate 15.
In a Facebook the city said, “The situation has escalated beyond our available resources. No additional shuttles or visitors will be allowed into Walker Canyon. This weekend has been unbearable Lake Elsinore.“
The City of Lake Elsinore had been providing a $5 per person shuttle from the outlet mall parking lot to Walker Canyon. At times, the wait to catch the shuttle was over an hour.
By Monday morning, however, the City of Lake Elsinore had announced it was re-opening Walker Canyon, but were limiting access and parking.
In another Facebook post on Monday, the city said, “At this time, it is not feasible for us to keep visitors away from Walker Canyon.”
“We are working on a new plan, new options for the coming weekend and will be sure to share this with our community as soon as possible.”
The California Highway Patrol also reminded drivers that parking on the freeways is breaking the law - even if it is just to take a picture of smaller blooms that have popped up on the I-15 in San Diego County.
"It becomes a non-emergency stop and you can be cited for it. It is extremely dangerous to be outside your vehicle. You don't have the protection of your vehicle," said Officer Josh Nelson.