Thousands of tourists frolicked through poppy fields in Southern California this weekend to capture photos of the hyper-Instagramable #superbloom extravaganza — forcing a small town to virtually shut down as tourists created hours-long traffic jams.
And trampling over those very flowers they were admiring in the process.
In the hills of western Riverside County, Lake Elsinore ground to a halt when at least 50,000 people swarmed adjacent Walker Canyon, one of the most popular sites for poppy seekers, The Guardian reported.
Conditions deteriorated so rapidly on Sunday that the town was forced to bar access to the popular poppy point.
Another place suffering from Instatourism. Your selfie is not as important as the natural heritage or the wellbeing of a community.#Superbloom or #poppynightmare? Selfie chaos forces canyon closure https://t.co/ZhNv0ut6VT
— Neil Jackman (@JackmanNeil) March 19, 2019
“This weekend has been unbearable in Lake Elsinore,” the city wrote on its Facebook and Instagram pages, adding the hashtag #poppynightmare. “We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community.”
Social media is, of course, being held at least partly responsible for the barrage of selfie snappers with thousands of hash tagged photos uploaded to Instagram over the weekend — some of them drawing comments like, “Trampling the flowers for a photo? Now they shut it down,” The Guardian reported. “Not worth it for a pic.”
Ironically, the stampede of people to the area for this year’s super bloom is “destroying the area,” with some outlets reporting that the constant disregard for the land could impede future flowers from being able to grow on the hillsides.
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