A beautiful explosion of poppies has exceeded the typical spring blooms people in California are used to seeing. Fields came alive with vibrant orange poppies and it has Instagram fanatics excited. Maybe a little too excited.
It’s called a “super bloom.” It is a massive burst of poppies that are all over Southern California due to the unexpected heavy rainfall that California has seen this year. People are going nuts over this rare burst of wildflower blooms and are doing whatever it takes to get the perfect pic for the gram. Even if that means ruining the poppies and the environment with it. Accidental or not, people need to realize that they are terrorizing the poppies for future generations.
People are not used to seeing such healthy and eye-popping poppy fields with the long drought that occurred in Calif., which is causing Instagram fanatics to go into portrait mode with these booming poppies. The sight, which first began further south in the state, is migrating north, much closer to Livermore.
Authorities are trying to continue spreading awareness about keeping these precious poppies safe so the second act of the “super bloom” doesn’t face the same fate as the first.
The California Poppy is vital to the state and needs to be protected. The state flower is one of the earliest wild flowers to grow. It has historical value as it is a remembrance of the First World War and is sacred in California.
Instagram is ruining these sacred flowers for likes.
The hills of Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, a city between Los Angeles and San Diego, are full of blooming orange poppies. Instagrammers swarmed to Walker Canyon which caused an absolute head ache for city officials. Lake Elsinore has a population of 60 thousand people, according to Mashable. On one weekend in mid-March, about 100 thousand people visited the popular canyon.
Traffic was out of control, as you could imagine, forcing the city hall to make a decision to shut down freeway access and access into Walker Canyon all together.
The following day Steve Manos, the Mayor of Lake Elsinore, posted to Instagram saying, “Walker Canyon is full. City is evaluating all options. We must remain flexible to this once in a lifetime opportunity and crisis facing our city.” Walker Canyon was forced to reopen due to state laws, but the mayor encouraged people to choose other options for the sake of Lake Elsinore. Manos is sure that the city will figure out a solution. “We’ve gone through fires and floods, we’ll get through the flowers,” he told CBS. The next day on Tuesday afternoon, Lake Elsinore was once again forced to close the freeway ramps, but this time the decision was made by Calif. Highway Patrol.
In April, another poppy field was having similar problems in Lancaster, Calif.
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is another victim to the destruction of the delicate wildflowers. On an average day, the park has about 60 visitors, according to Vice News Tonight. During this semi-rare super bloom outbreak of golden poppies, the number of visitors has skyrocketed to approximately 2,000 people. Large amounts of families, including swarms of kids, run through the poppy fields ruining the poppies as parents attempt to take the best pictures of their kids to post on Instagram. “They don’t care if they’re damaging the habitat; they just want their picture,” said longtime interpreter at the reserve Jean Rhyne, according to Vice News Tonight. “This park was created specifically because of the poppies that are here,” Rhyne said. “And if they get stepped on or sat on to take a picture, it compacts the soil and then the roots from the seeds of the next year can’t get in. So we’ll have scars in the habitat for many years to come.”
Since the massive rise in visitors, the reserve has tried to adapt to the situation. They hired staff from other Calif. State Parks, providing numerous trails and walkways, but not even park rangers could stop a unique problem that occurred in March.
A couple decided to land a giant helicopter in the middle of a field of poppies. A park ranger approached the couple, but the couple fled off. The helicopter ruined many of the flowers and infuriated employees. The reserve responded to the incident in a since-deleted post on Facebook, saying, “We never thought it would be explicitly necessary to state that it is illegal to land a helicopter in the middle of the fields and begin hiking off trail. We were wrong.”
The employees created a hashtag #DontDoomTheBloom on Instagram to inform future visitors about the potential harm before they visit.
Don’t fool yourself, though. People are still determined to get the perfect shot for the gram. Fewer than 300 Instagram posts have the #DontDoomTheBloom hashtag while more than 147 thousand posts are hash tagged #superbloom with people posing with the precious poppies.
As the first act of the “super bloom” comes to an end in Southern Calif., a second act is starting in northern Calif., closer to Las Positas. You can see the progression of blooms showing up in places such as Sacramento.
In the coming days, the beautiful blooms will come alive up and down the Sierra Nevada range.
According to Blake Engelhardt, forest botanist at Inyo National Forest, “Relatively cool temperatures through March seem to be delaying emergence of plants so far, but when it starts to warm, it should green up pretty quickly,” he told Travel + Leisure. “With so much snow above 8,000 feet, peak wildflowers at the higher elevations may not be until late July or early August, when they get unburied.”