It was just before noon on a recent Sunday morning and a line had formed for the port-a-potties near the Wildflower Trail at Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County. Cars were backed up around a bend in the road, and frustrated people resorted to parking 2 miles away and walking in.
They had come to see the "super bloom" of wildflowers that have sprung up around the trails snaking around this drinking water reservoir. People are excited to take pictures of the flowers and themselves among the flowers, and many areas have been trampled.
As a result, a half-mile section of the trail has been closed indefinitely. (Check here for updates.)
“We haven’t seen these kinds of crowds. Ever,” said Wendy Picht, an environmental specialist for the Metropolitan Water District, which manages the lake.
Diamond Valley staff had called in Picht and Alex Marks, another MWD environmental specialist, to assess the extent of the flower damage. Informal trails through fields of poppies, goldfields, Ranchers fiddleneck and Arroyo lupine led away from the main gravel path. There were many scattered flattened patches of broken stems and crumpled petals where people had sat or laid down to take pictures in the flowers.