Amid speculation about whether 2023 could bring another spectacular super bloom event in South Western USA, Californian police have made a pre-emptive strike to try to avoid the chaos of 2019. Specifically addressing photographers and wannabe photographers (i.e. influencers), they are saying, “stay away from the poppies, or we’ll arrest you”.
2019 saw unprecedented crowds of daytrippers to the Lake Elsinore area during the super bloom. Flowers were trampled, traffic chaos cut off residents from infrastructure, and one policeman even lost his life in a road traffic accident. Clearly, the authorities are keen to avoid any of this from happening again.
Mayor of Elsinore, Natasha Johnson, explained that previously asking people to stay away and be respectful had not had an impact. In 2019, the overwhelming number of visitors and their unfortunate behavior came at a cost that was “way too steep for our residents and our wildlife,” she said in a press conference. “They trampled on the very habitat that they placed so high in regard and sought to enjoy,” she adds.
It wasn’t just unsociable behavior and destruction of habitat that caused problems, but also the sheer numbers of people who weren’t properly prepared for being outdoors. Numerous resources were spent on rescuing irresponsible people who injured or endangered themselves.
The County Sheriff Chad Bianco added that the authorities would be taking a “zero tolerance” attitude. Anyone parking on roadsides or trespassing to see the poppies will be subject to arrest and jail time, and possible towing of their car.
You’ve been warned. Once again, Instagram ‘influencers’ ruin the great outdoors! Is this a sensible approach, or is it spoiling the fun?