Walker Canyon Temporarily Closed for Safety and to Preserve Local Habitat

Feb 9, 2023 | Announcement, MSHCP, News

Walker Canyon, the site of the California Poppy “Super Bloom” that drew thousands of visitors in 2019, is temporarily closed to visitors for safety reasons and to help protect sensitive habitat.

The closure was announced at a news conference on February 7 by Lake Elsinore Mayor and RCA Chair Natasha Johnson. Trails on public and private lands, parking, and access to Walker Canyon are closed, Johnson said.

The closure is a safeguard against problems that occurred in 2019, including traffic jams and the death of a CHP officer. The influx of visitors also caused poppies to be trampled and disturbed habitat for native plant and animal species protected by the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, which the RCA manages.

In close partnership with the City of Lake Elsinore, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, County of Riverside Emergency Management Department, Riverside County Parks, Caltrans, and other partners, the RCA has been monitoring the poppy bloom closely during the last few weeks. All signs point to a minor bloom.

Although the RCA typically allows hiking, bicycling, bird watching, and other passive activities on its reserve lands, Walker Canyon will be closed at this time. The public is urged to avoid the area and obey posted signs near Walker Canyon. The modest poppy bloom can be viewed from the City of Lake Elsinore’s live feed of Walker Canyon.

The RCA is preserving 500,000 acres of habitat for 146 native animal and plant species, including 34 that are endangered or threatened. The MSHCP, one of the largest land conservation plans in the nation, protects species in Walker Canyon like the bobcat, mountain lion, coastal California gnatcatcher, Bell’s sage sparrow, Cooper’s hawk, white-tailed kite, Munz’s onion, and more.

With the partnership of the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District, the RCA and other partners are protecting lands such as the Walker Canyon for future generations. To learn more about the RCA’s work and some of the protected species, visit https://www.wrc-rca.org/school-resources/.