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California is having a real nature moment and nobody is supposed to be around to see it.
In mid-April, following heavy rains, California’s famed poppies sprouted and bloomed, creating a scene that looked like it was straight out of a romance movie. However, because of California’s social distancing orders, nobody was supposed to see this gorgeous sight in person.
Like other public spaces around the state, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is closed to the public. However, as LAist noted, that did not deter people from attempting to visit. California State Parks even put up roadblocks to stop the incoming traffic, but even that wasn’t enough.
“There are a lot of people not obeying the stay-at-home order,” California State Parks Interpreter Jean Rhyne told SFGate. However, as Rhyne noted, “visitation to the valley is only a fraction of what it would normally be at this time.”
But, to make matters worse, those who did violate the stay at home orders appeared to also violate a cardinal rule of poppy viewing: Don’t step on the poppies.
Instagram after Instagram photo appeared to show people trampling all over the gorgeous blooms rather than staying on designated paths. As Travel + Leisure previously explained, this is a big no-no as doing so can ruin the delicate flower’s root system for years to come.
“You can see the damage to the part of the trail where people stepped off,” Jorge Moreno, a California State Parks information officer, told CNN in 2019. “People are taking selfies with the flowers or laying on the flowers and that's where the flowers won't grow back because so many people are stepping off the trail.”
However, there is still one way to responsibly see the flowers this year, and that’s with the Antelope Valley’s 360-degree camera. The camera is always pointing at the blooms so everyone can enjoy the sight right from their own living room.
And really, the city wants you to know that compared to last year there isn’t much to see, even in person, so please stay home.
“The City has placed a live camera feed on-site so you can view for yourself,” the city wrote above its live camera. “As you can see, there are very little poppies along Walker Canyon Trail, especially in comparison to the 2019 Super Bloom. With temperatures on the rise, it is unlikely we will see many more and most will not bloom for long.”