Poppies in danger as Lancaster super bloom becomes new hot spot for crowds

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- A super bloom in Lancaster is becoming the new hot spot, and the large crowds are putting the poppies in danger.

Signs are posted everywhere at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster. "Fragile area, stay on trail."

While most obey the rules, sadly, a few don't.

Jean Rhyne of the State Department of Parks and Recreation has no patience for fence hoppers and others not respecting the poppy reserve.

"It's actually a pretty tough flower. It can survive freezes, heat, extended periods without water, but not people stepping on it," she said.

Rhyne and park rangers are policing the poppies, making sure what happened in Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore doesn't happen in Lancaster. Visitors trampled and destroyed a lot of the flowers, and to prevent further damage, authorities temporarily closed the area to the public.

Park rangers on Tuesday handed out nearly a dozen tickets to violators disobeying laws by walking off trails, trampling the flowers and in some cases just lying in the poppies, crushing them while taking selfies.

"Everybody wants to get their picture in the poppies but then we end up with a trail being started and somebody else sits there thinking somebody else started the trail..., but that makes it bigger," Rhyne added. "The more people are walking or sitting off the trail, it actually compacts the soil and we'll have a scar for years to come..."

If you harm a flower, you could be facing a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
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