Poppypalooza returns to Lake Elsinore, virtually, thanks to COVID-19

Bob Magee, mayor pro tem of Lake Elsinore, addresses the community in a video message Thursday, April 23, regarding the Walker Canyon poppy bloom. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Kim Harris
Managing Editor

Poppies have once again taken to the stage in Lake Elsinore, but visitors hoping to stroll through the fields of blooms are in for disappointment should they show up to Walker Canyon in person. 

“As you can see, following the spring rains, the poppies are once again beginning to bloom,” Bob Magee, mayor pro tem of Lake Elsinore, said in a video update on the city’s YouTube Channel Thursday, April 23. “However, the bloom is much smaller and is not expected to reach the size of a super bloom.” 

Even with the small bloom, many people delight in strolling through Walker Canyon, but this year, that is not an option open to lovers of flora and fauna. 

A small poppy field erupts in bloom in Lake Elsinore’s Walker Canyon. Due to COVID-19, the only way to view the poppies this year is through the city’s live video feed of the location. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Magee said in response to the increased interest in visiting the poppies made famous by the super bloom of 2019 and with the COVID-19 public health orders preventing gatherings, the city would keep Walker Canyon closed in spite of Riverside County’s latest public health orders to reopen trails.

“The city of Lake Elsinore and our regional agency partners including Riverside County Parks and the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Agency, Walker Canyon Trail and the road are both closed,” Magee said. 

Currently, Walker Canyon Road is closed to all public access and parking, and no parking is allowed along Lake Street and Temescal Canyon Road. Regular patrols are in place and enforcement of no parking will be deployed regularly with citations being issued for any violations. 

Over the past weekend, several people were caught parking along Interstate 15 to observe the bloom, an action that is not just unsafe but also illegal, Magee said. 

“It is not safe,” Magee said. “CHP And Caltrans have been notified and are patrolling the freeway for anyone breaking the law.” 

Magee said the city understands that now is a difficult time for everyone but that the city was asking for residents and visitors help in avoiding the area. 

But all is not lost for poppy lovers who can observe the poppy’s through the city’s live video feed of Walker Canyon available online at https://www.lake-elsinore.org/poppies

“Now is not the time to visit the poppies, we must stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Magee said. “Together we can get through this and aim to open up more recreational destinations as soon as possible.” 

The city will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action as necessary, Magee said. 

Kim Harris can be reached by email at valleyeditor@reedermedia.com