By Cailey Rizzo
March 22, 2019
Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

Earlier this month, California’s Walker Canyon shut down to visitors. Its vibrant super bloom display of poppies was so popular, it created a public safety crisis. The park reopened after three days, but the town warned that parking was going to be extremely limited and it might take time to access the trails.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to see the phenomenon — like from space.

The WorldView-2 satellite (owned by DigitalGlobe) photographed the spectacular display as seen from space on March 19. The image shows vibrant patches of orange and green blooming along the canyon.

Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

If you zoom in closely, it’s possible to see a long line of cars waiting in traffic to get into the canyon. People walking along the trails are also visible in the photograph.

Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

The super bloom, although still rare, could become more frequent in southern California. The last super bloom was in 2017 but the last one before that took place in 2008.

The super blooms are likely caused by changes in climate and a particularly rainy season this past winter.

However, towns are struggling to meet the surge of visitors coming to see the flowers. One small southern California town says that it had more than 500,000 visitors in 2017 during the last super bloom. This year, the town pre-prepared for the visitor surge with plans for crowd and traffic control.

Satellite image ©2019 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

Regardless of a town’s level of preparedness, those who are planning on visiting the super blooms on the ground should abide by the “leave no trace” travel motto. Responsible travel this year will ensure that the towns will welcome visitors for future blooms.