The town of Lake Elsinore is embroiled in a tourism quandary. The poppy fields that grow in this California town, southeast of Los Angeles, have become a viral attraction, to the point of causing saturation in the small community of 71,000 inhabitants. In response, the authorities have decided to ban the flower lanes from entering, drawing criticism from a section of residents who believe the solution is too radical.
Poppies are common in California during the spring and summer. In 2019 Lake Elsinore experienced a nightmare as throngs of tourists poured into the town as heavy winter rains multiplied fields of flowers. Vehicles parked on the road caused traffic jams and accidents, and many hikers were injured, overwhelming local emergency services.
To avoid a similar situation, the California Highway Patrol has limited the use of freeway shoulders and access to Walker Canyon, the main bloom site. While some residents have sighed with relief at the move, others have lamented the loss of tourism revenue.