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California

The Super Bloom in Lake Elsinore is over. We remember it fondly

LAKE ELSINORE, CALIF. -- MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2019: Surrounded by the wildflower super bloom, large cro
Surrounded by the wildflowers of Super Bloom, large crowds hike amid the poppies while taking in the rare scenery of the Lake Elsinore poppy fields in Walker Canyon on March 18.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Super Bloom, of Lake Elsinore, died this past week. It was about 6 weeks old.

Not an actual scientific term, Super Bloom was born out of a drought — which killed invasive grasses that squash flowers’ chances of growing — and record rainfall that nourished wildflower seeds.

Remembered by local officials as an “unplanned, natural phenomenon,” Super Bloom enjoyed rain, sunshine, pollination, bees and the occasional sniff.

During its prime, Super Bloom attracted thousands of visitors from around the world, some of whom trampled on Super Bloom. But Super Bloom — known for its generosity — never complained, choosing instead to thrive and blanket hillsides with orange California poppies (and some other wildflowers that no one really seemed to care about).

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“It’s better than going to Disneyland,” Randy Solis, a patrol officer with the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency, told The Times.

Super Bloom was fondly remembered by city leaders, who three weeks into its life declared a “poppy nightmare,” citing not only the problems caused by crowds but also the intense traffic created, in part, by drivers slowing down to take photos of Super Bloom from the 15 Freeway.

“The Super Bloom has been unlike any event we have ever experienced before,” Lake Elsinore Mayor Steve Manos said in a statement. “The extreme beauty of our hillsides that drew attention from around the world is now diminishing quickly, and our residents sure are eager for things to get back to normal.”

Super Bloom is survived by green hillsides, a dirt road that winds through Walker Canyon (that remains a fine hike), some very tired county park rangers and lots of selfies.

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Public agencies that helped with the throngs of visitors include: Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District, California Department of Transportation, County of Riverside Transportation and Land Management Agency, Riverside County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, Riverside County Transportation Commission, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Riverside County Fire Department and Riverside County Emergency Management Department.

In lieu of sending flowers, as that would be horrifically insensitive, Super Bloom enthusiasts are encouraged to donate to their favorite Lake Elsinore charity, or maybe just send a nice thank-you note to city leaders.

Alejandra Reyes-Velarde contributed to this report.


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