Urban Kayaking on the Los Angeles River

Urban kayaking on the Los Angeles River

Kayaking. Los Angeles River. I know, these two things don’t seem to go together, especially when every Angeleno’s impression of our namesake river is a garbage-strewn flood channel full of dead bodies.

But I’m going to fill you in on a secret: It’s clean. It’s fresh. And dare I say it… You might even forget you’re paddling the Los Angeles River once you’re on it.

The 51-mile Los Angeles River was closed to the public in the 1930s, when major flooding prompted city officials to pave its banks with concrete to improve storm drainage. Since then, the river has been a designated flood control channel under management by the Army Corps of Engineers. It was not until 2010 that the Environmental Protection Agency declared the river a “traditional navigable water,” which allowed for Clean Water Act protections.

As a result, the LA Conservation Corps led a pilot program in the summer of 2011 that opened a 1.5-mile section of river to the public. That section, the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area in San Fernando Valley, offered guided kayak trips down the sycamore and willow-lined banks of the river. But with limited public access, the trips often sold out within hours of opening reservations (even this summer!), so many people never get the chance to paddle that elusive segment of river.

This year, a new program managed by Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority opened a 2.5-mile sandy-bottomed stretch of river along Glendale Narrows in Elysian Valley. The Pilot Recreation Zone opened over Memorial Day and will run through Labor Day, when river conditions are calmest. Even then, expect to find a few surprising Class I and II rapids on this run!

There are a few outfitters with rentals that will guide you down this section, but anyone with a steerable, non-motorized watercraft (kayak, canoe, or paddleboard — though it’s much too shallow and rocky for a canoe or paddleboard in my opinion) can use the river without any permits or fees. The program site offers a downloadable trail map detailing every rapid and hazard on the run. It’s a good idea to bring it with you because even with our keen river knowledge, we managed to make a wrong turn and had to portage our kayaks through heavy brush (very interesting experience, to say the least!).

So, things I learned after being on the river: Bring a map (or use a guide), wear sturdy river shoes, and wear a helmet if you’re paddling a hard shell river kayak. The rocks underneath can flip you if you’re not paying attention, so it would be pretty easy to hit your head if you’re in a closed kayak.

We put in at the river access point near Rattlesnake Park in Glendale. It’s a little sneaky to find — just a dead-end side street with an opening in the fence that leads you onto the Elysian Valley bike path.

LA River put-in point

Access to Elysian Valley bike path and Los Angeles River put-in

Elysian Valley bike path on the LA River

The put-in is just south of the Fletcher Avenue bridge, and you have to drag your boat down the steep concrete embankment to get to the river. Eventually, I hope they’ll build a better launching pad to be more welcoming to beginners… perhaps a sandy beach or a man-made eddy?

Los Angeles River access point near Rattlesnake Park

Put-in point on the LA River

Glendale Narrows segment of the LA River

Launching on the LA River

Right off the bat, we paddled through the Class I Rattlesnake Rapids! But then we floated down a fairly calm section of river where anglers sat patiently on the concrete side waiting for their catch, and lush vegetation (with the occasional utility tower) covered the other side.

Launching on the LA River

Fishermen on the banks of the LA River

Lush vegetation on the Los Angeles River

Utility lines along the Los Angeles River

The river was probably deepest at this point — knee-high? — and glassy as a lake. If it weren’t for the cement bank, you’d never realize you were in an urban environment. All you could hear were the sounds of birds and the rustling of leaves… it was surprisingly peaceful and beautiful.

Los Angeles River

And do you recognize this tree?

Wild fig tree

A wild fig! With baby figs starting to sprout!

Wild figs

We saw lots of wild figs on this stretch, along with snowy egrets (what seem to be the official bird of the LA River), American coots, blue heron, and black-necked stilts.

Water fowl

Water fowl

Black-necked stilt

Ah, the black-necked stilt. I loved its flamingo-like legs.

Black-necked stilt

Many parts of the river involved some tricky maneuvering through boulder gardens where the water was only 6 inches deep. The shallow chutes made for some fun little drops in our kayaks!

Rock chutes

Chutes and boulders

Rock garden on the Los Angeles River

Boulder garden on the Los Angeles River

Baby rapids

And then there was this awesome Class II chute at Marker 6 (Benedict Rapid)… Not too gnarly, but there’s only one way to go down and you do have to align yourself perfectly, as rocks on either side are just threatening to toss you!

Dropping down the Benedict Rapid chute

Benedict Rapid

Dropping the chute on Benedict Rapid

Between Markers 5 and 4, we passed Rio de Los Angeles State Park. The hubs and I have been volunteering on that project for the past year, which opened in 2007 as part of the river restoration process. Eventually, the restoration will extend into the empty lot between the river and the park — a no man’s land called Taylor Yard that used to be a Union Pacific rail yard — and connect park visitors to the actual Rio de Los Angeles (Los Angeles River, that is).

That means one day, instead of seeing a sterile cement bank, we could actually see beautiful terraced parkland along the river. It’s an ambitious plan that may not come to fruition for many more years, but it has to start somewhere. (If you’d like to be a part of the process, read more about it here, then consider donating your time or money to the California State Parks Foundation, Friends of the Los Angeles River, or the LA River Revitalization Corporation.)

At one point the river narrowed significantly — maybe 6 feet across — but the water was so swift that my boat was just skimming the surface of the cement, inches above it, before I hit a major strainer.

Narrow waterway

Shallow water over cement

Pretty sure we were on the wrong side of the channel… I mean, who puts a tree in the middle of the river?! (If this program takes off, I would happily volunteer to do some bushwhacking for the sanity of future kayakers! And in return, I would ask for just a teensy bit more water in the channel to navigate more smoothly… Army Corps of Engineers, are you reading this?)

Big tree strainer

Then there was that other wrong turn… or maybe it was the right turn, but we didn’t realize it involved a portage. This is what it looks like when you have to haul a kayak through head-high vegetation to the other side of the channel.

Head-high vegetation to portage through

Portaging

I’m not complaining though, when most of the river looked like this…

Glendale Narrows section of the Los Angeles River

And this…

Los Angeles River solitude

Los Angeles River

Over the entire 2.5-mile stretch, we saw not a single other paddler on the water. On a Saturday. On a hot, sunny, beautiful Saturday. Who knows how long the solitude will last, but we’ll enjoy it while we can!

At the end of our run just north of the freeway overpass, we reached the take-out point at Egret Park, a lush little oasis that was built during the revitalization phase.

Nearing the river exit

MetroLink

Take-out beach on the Los Angeles River

Egret Park

I never thought I’d see the day when we could actually kayak the LA River, and just a week after it officially opened. We kind of felt like pioneers! And I was so stoked when a jogger on the path stopped and asked about my experience on the river, as he’d been intrigued about paddling it himself. For anyone else that may be intrigued, I say: Go for it!

Egret Park river access point

We want more people on the river to show the city that we need this! More people means more publicity, and more publicity means more planning and funding to revitalize what should be a beautiful emblem of LA (and not just a location for another action-flick car chase). Though we still have a long way before the rest of the river opens for recreation, this is such a huge and positive step in the right direction.

When I told my friends I’d kayaked the LA River, all the usual questions popped up: Did I step on any crack needles? Run into homeless people? Swallow any water?

No, no, and no. The Glendale Narrows segment is a gem. Half of it felt like a natural river with rapids and wetland wildlife, and the other half felt like an urban waterway with cyclists and pedestrians on the bike path above the river. Several times, curious passersby would stop on the path to watch us paddle downstream.

It seemed like the conservation group did a great amount of clean-up on the river, and aside from a few plastic bags trapped in trees (just another reason to push for a bag ban in LA County), there was hardly any trash in the water or along the bank.

We didn’t see any vagrants or shopping carts, and there were no encampments like what you might find in the more industrialized parts of the river further south.

The water was very clean, and probably cleaner than most of the beaches in LA. It’s also pleasantly warm, which is in stark contrast to other rivers like the Kern that are fed by snowmelt.

Get the details here. Go there this weekend. Have a blast and marvel that this is right in our backyard… in the middle of a city!

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June 4 2013      56 comments     Linda Ly
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  • Mike Dean

    Great blogs, Garden Betty. Your posts helped us make it to kayak the LA River today, and to re-open our chicken debates, thanks. Here is a link to my Google Plus albums. See y’all on the water probably, sometime! https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/112718598810881378231/albums

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

      I’m glad you made it out there for the program’s last weekend! Looks like you had a great time, and it was a perfect day to be in the water.

  • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

    Thank you! I grant image use only for specific articles, so please send me an email with more info about the article you’re working on.

  • Vanessa

    GREAT post! I work for the National Organization for Rivers, an organization that defends the public’s right to recreate on rivers. Any chance we could share some of your photos on our website?

  • james90210

    Is there a meetup group or similar group for inexperienced paddlers to join and tag along ?

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

      If you’re an inexperienced paddler, I’d suggest going with one of the outfitters (linked above in my post) as you’ll definitely want someone that can provide the gear and guide you down the river.

  • Nick Stein

    This looks awesome! I used to kayak occasionally in the Florida Keys and when I lived in Kaneohe, Oahu. I wish I would do it more. Perhaps I will buy one this fall and haul it off to the coast! I will look into this river, am highly interested in restoration attempts, no matter what stage they may or may not be at. The fact is coinciding with nature is not just wanted, it’s needed… (Silent Spring)

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

      Kayaking is only during the summer but restoration efforts are year-round. Look up http://folar.org!

  • kim

    Hi, I was wondering where exactly can I rent a kayak? I would love to explode this river but there isn’t enough information online for me. I would appreciate it very much.

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

      You can find links to a couple of kayaking guides on http://www.lariverrecreation.org/LA_River_Recreation/links.html. I’ve never used them, but have read good things about them online. If you’re comfortable navigating on your own, I think Sport Chalet in Burbank also rents kayaks (but you’d have to transport them to the river yourself).

  • Tony Taylor

    You folks should not be promoting this as you are and misleading people. The water is not clean, its is full of chemicals and bacteria. When someone gets very ill from being in this water, or someone who has scratches or scrapes on parts of their body that the water gets into and they get a bad infection perhaps you will then know that you are wrong in promoting this misguided adventure.

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

      I assume you have never been to the Glendale Narrows. Please do not make false statements when you are not aware of what kind of work has and had been done to restore this part of the river. Your energy is best spent volunteering and/or learning about the river, rather than making repetitive comments on similar posts across the web (as seen in your Disqus comment profile).

      • Tony Taylor

        I am sorry Miss Ly but I do not make false statements. I would suspect that I am at the river much, much more than you have ever been. I am at the Glendale Narrows, and elsewhere all along the river multiple times every week. Those of us who are not on board with the “party line” as preached by agency people are the ones who are wrong and know nothing of the river. I would kindly encourage you to really get to know about the river and check out what’s in the water as I have done, to check out homeless people who go to the toilet in the river, wash their clothes in it and bathe in it to see the sores and boils they have on their arms and legs caused by the water. When you try to get signs put up at the river posting hours, rules, emergency procedures for contacting first responders and patrolling. etc. and other common sense things done and instead huge sums of money is spent on parks and other projects that really don’t restore the river as I and others have done over the last many years then you could understand why I make the “repetitive” comments that I make. I have been at the river when a huge rescue operation took place several years ago at Taylor Yard of a young man fisher person’s body, a young man who became trapped under a big piece of broken concrete, that is still there, I saw the divers and other rescue people who went into the water by hosed down with clean water after they came out of the river water. I have been attacked by off leash dogs and had to endure shots because the woman who owned the dogs ran when she knew she was in a lot of trouble, I have seen people who were properly walking their dogs be attacked by off leash dogs, last time week before last, I have seen people attacked by homeless people and gangsters, I have seen people killing ducks and geese at the river, I was there when gangsters pointed out a young man hanging in a tree, and I was the one who they left to summon the first responders. You and those who have a money interest in the river do not like or want those of us who have a different point of view from you to express our concerns or our own point view that comes from a more commons sense approach and that does not involve making money off the river.

        • LittleCeasar

          This is an interesting debate. I’ve never gone into the actual river, but I run along the bike path a few times a week. From what I’ve seen, I suspect Tony’s version of this tale is a little closer to the truth.

          That being said, if Tony spends as much time by the river as he claims, I would encourage him to start a blog or website with photographs and results to water tests. If there are indeed harmful chemicals in the water people should be made aware.

          • Tony Taylor

            I am awaiting a call from one of the two people I actually trust with the truth about the river giving me results of what is in the water and the cost of this boating project. I have heard sums going from $2.5 mil to $10 mil.I have been in contact with a person at California Fish and Wildlife who says that a decline in the wildlife and a tremendous decline in mother ducks with ducklings on the river and the disappearance of algae and grasses in the water is, one of several reasons he thinks have caused this but this one being first, recreational boating. Also, have confirmation of insects carrying the West Nile Virus along the river. This was last summer/fall from a County Vector Control Ecologist. At that time he told me these insects are present year round. Waiting to speak with him again this year.I do have a page on FB Save The Los Angeles River on which I post pictures from the river and my observations of what goes on there. I get ridicule because disagreeing with the “agency people” as those with a financial stake, which is most of those involved in the river, in the river do not like.

          • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

            Recreational boating on Glendale Narrows has only been open since Memorial Day 2013, so I fail to see how boating has been the cause of all the decline of wildlife. If anything, restoration of this section has recently introduced more wildlife to the area by naturalizing the river. Repopulating the habitat takes time. As more vegetation grows and more wildlife returns to the river, it is naturally filtered and cleaned. West Nile is a concern in any outdoor recreational area, including waterways, and is not solely limited to the LA River in our county. West Nile education is a completely separate issue.

            People who enjoy the river become more aware. Awareness brings further restoration, preservation, and community services like security, public restrooms, better parking, etc. And as much as you hate money-making schemes, vendors who provide services on the river only boost the local economy and bring more enjoyment for those who choose to recreate here. All those million-dollar projects which seem so disjointed now will eventually merge into one big project, which is full restoration of the river. You might not get to see it in your lifetime; as a river that was destroyed over generations will also take generations to bring back to life.

            I appreciate the passion you have for the river as you obviously see something others don’t. But I think that trying to keep people OFF the river, rather than encouraging education and restoration, is only holding back any efforts to “Save the Los Angeles River,” as you want to do.

          • Tony Taylor

            Again you are defending your point of view with stuff that makes no sense. I KNOW when the boating started. I know when the vegetation that the wildlife lives on started to disappear, I also know from last year and the years before that when the paid kayaking was going on when the wildlife’s food source disappeared and I, as do others, know that when the kayaking ended boom the algae began to grow again. There is no restoration in any section of the river. Until about three years ago there was abundant bird life on the river. Several different species of ducks, water birds, geese and shore birds. Now you do not see near the number as before, you also do not see near the number of birds, or species, that we used to see that migrated to the river in the wintertime. Too much interference by humans?? You talk about more vegetation, which is being killed so you can boat, and more wildlife, which is being driven off the river, that the river water is naturally filtered and cleaned. Where do you get that from?? I talk to biologists with CA Fish and Wildlife, I talk to people at Bureau of Santitation, just last week I talked to a person in a position of responsibility at BOS about these things and I trust his view of what is happening far more than I do yours. I talked by email this week to a person who is in the know at CA Fish and Wildlife about these problems. I talked to others at CA Fish and Wildlife when the proposal for this boating program first came up. Those who planned this program did not consult with CA Fish and Wildlife when they were pursuing this ill planned program. Their answers at the first of the two public meetings when asked if they had talked to them was no they had not. They became aware of it after they were contacted by some of us dissidents. They were not totally in favor of it, and that may have partly led to the change in where the boating is occuring. The other change came about because of work on the Fletcher Drive Bridge. As for where the West Nile is a concern I am not so dumb as to believe it is solely limited to the LA River. My statement about that was simply to point out that it is present at the river..
            You are young and believe that your point of view is the only point of view that matters. That I and others who disagree with you and those promoting this program, as well as other expensive projects at the river that do nothing to restore it, don’t know what we are talking about. But young lady I have been going to the river for a lot of years. I speak based on what I have saw and experienced over those years. And may I ask how many years have you been going to the river? how many meetings at which the river was discussed, meetings such as for those about the River Master Plan or those about this project have you attended?

          • Tynamite

            You talk a good game, but you don’t cite any sources for your claims. Do you have any studies or quotes from people on record saying the things you are saying? I would be interested to dig in a little more.

            I’d also like to point out that your tone turned disrespectful, which is no way to make a point.

            I am by no means as involved in the river as you claim to be, and even if i were I’m sure you would be dead set to big league me in that regard anyway. But it would seem to be that increased awareness of any sort would be a good thing, whether it be through recreational activities or otherwise. Don’t you think if people did start kayaking through the river people would want to make it nicer? Again, I’m not scientist but i would think the damage done by the bottom of kayaks scraping some algae off would be far outweighed by a generally cleaner, more natural, less polluted river, no?

          • Tony Taylor

            I am at the river at least 4 times a week. I have going to the Los Angeles River for over 30 years. I have saw so many things over those years. When I first started going around the river it was me, the homeless and the gangsters. To a good extent that is still how it is…..but add in druggies. I have seen what the kayaking people do to the wildlife….scare the hell out of them and they go fleeing in horror. The algae which is indeed killed so that a few can kayak is a food the ducks, geese and other wildlife eat and fish lay their eggs in it and also shelter in it. Taking away one of their food sources, and about the only one on the river so that a few people can make money does not seem right to me. I am not alone in this belief. Over the years I have gone to hundreds of meetings about the river I have spoken up and put my hands to work to save the river-not for people but for the animals, the birds, the ducks and geese. By the way their are a lot less of all of these than there used to be. Even Shelly Backlar at FOLAR has questioned what has happened to them. Interference by people who know little about wildlife and care even less and who look at the river as a way for them to make money likely.
            Go to the river see all the trash, see how few people use the hundreds of million of dollars worth of little parks that have been built there, see all the vandalism, see the druggies, and the gangsters and then you will see the real LA River that is seen not only by me but the majority of those who go to the river. Not to be unkind but folks like you do not like what I write and say because I am not on board with throwing enormous sums of taxpayer money at the river and ignoring the basic problems.

          • Tony Taylor

            Rest rooms are something that those who live along the river do not want. Vendors who make money off this project only help themselves not the community. This project was promoted and sold as a FREE project. It is not. Security and rules of engagement should have been established before the gates were opened not now or more likely years down the road. Building more and more million dollar parks along the river, which few people will use, I invite you come take a tour of these million of dollars parks with me some day and you will see that there are no people there, so that you see what I see when I go visit them we would need to make that same trip several times over several weeks. After dark however it is a different story. Gangsters take over. Some of them they are out during the day too. I seriously doubt that these projects will ever merge into one great restoration of the river. There were steps that should have been put into place when Ed Reyes opened the gates and said ya all come that weren’t and that they do not want to take. They have no plans put into place to maintain these million dollar projects and most of them are in bad shape. Quite obviously it will never happen in my lifetime, nor likely, even though you are very young and starry eyed, in yours.

        • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

          I have no money interests in the river. I volunteer my time (as in work for free for the general good) with CA State Parks to help revitalize Rio de Los Angeles State Park. As a direct result of those efforts (which I was not a part of) that community finally had a safe place they could recreate without needing a car. I saw no homeless people or gangsters when I was at Glendale Narrows, and I have friends who live nearby, use the bike path often, and have never seen the homeless or gangsters on the river that you mention. I’m sure they exist in a city like Glendale, but I didn’t see them congregating in the 2.5-mile stretch of Glendale Narrows. If you saw someone (who clearly lives in unhygienic conditions) bathing in the river with sores and boils, why would you assume it was caused by the water? Are you their doctor as well? I’m sure that several years ago the area was worse off than it is now, that’s what restoration is all about. And hopefully in the next few years, Taylor Yard will start to be revived as well.

          Further, off-leash dogs and irresponsible dog owners happen everywhere; that is not a valid river issue.

  • Andrea

    Thanks for sharing your adventure. More people do need to get out on the river, it’s an awesome resource!

    I ran across this other blog post about kayaking the river too: http://blog.newscom.com/guest-blog-the-la-river-is-a-river/

  • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

    I don’t know when I’ll be back on the river again, so I will have to say no. If you live in SoCal, I encourage you to come see it yourself!

    • Tony Taylor

      Things that grow in the river are not to be removed. At leas that was the law, of course these folks want to change whatever they can by themselves, so guess if you wanted to steal some fig cuttings, animals, rocks or whatever you can do that.

      • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

        To be honest, I’m not sure which agency/boundary those fig trees fall under and whether they’re considered public fruit trees or not. But, the main reason we wouldn’t want to harvest those figs is so we don’t disturb the natural habitat that we’re trying to restore (even if it were legal).

        • Tony Taylor

          Nobody is really sure who is in charge of anything at the river…..whose responsibility the problem is depends on what you are trying to achieve and then they all pass responsibility on to some one else. As for harvesting the figs they do get harvested.There is a large fig tree up in Atwater Village, planted many years ago by a person who thought it would be a good idea and would give the animals and birds something to feed on. The poor birds and animals don’t get to savor one fig off that tree. People are the only ones who harvest them. Other fig trees, along with other vegetation that ducks, geese and other birds feed on at the river is destroyed by the USACE, and algae and grasses that grow in the polluted waters of the river and which is shelter and food for the fish, and food for the birds of the river is being, to be kind, controlled by the city? so you folks can boat in those very polluted waters.

          • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

            I am not aware of USACE destroying vegetation at Glendale Narrows. I’ve read about what they did at Sepulveda Basin. If they are repeating that same mistake in Glendale, I would be against it as well. But I also believe responsible boaters can coexist with the natural habitat.

          • Tony Taylor

            So again Miss Ly you are saying I am a liar. I know what they did. Because what they do on the concrete banks of the river, and if you did the misguided boating thing you saw their handiwork on the concrete banks as you went down the river, is not of concern to people, only to a few of us who believe it is a waste of money to chop down growth that makes the river look better, growth that hurts nothing. As you went boating down the river I am sure you noticed all the green bamboo type stuff growing on the sand bars. Over the years that stuff has been cut down several times and each time it has came back thicker an greener and taller than before. The last time was 2 years ago at a cost to the taxpayers of over $3 million wasted dollars. We are being told now to conserve water, we are in drought conditions, so the city is putting more water into the river so you have an easier time of paddling merrily along your way. What does that extra water cost?? Why is it wasted on this project?? The water even though it is reclaimed sewage water could be saved and put to a better use. As for “responsilbe boaters” who coexist with the natural habitat that too is not correct. I am sure you saw few ducks, no geese, and few other birds as you made your way down the river. That area used to teem with wildlife, but not anymore. The water being treated to kill or contain the algae and grasses in the water so you can paddle through it is causing the wildlife on the river to disappear. It is causing the ducks to not mate and reproduce. Shelly Backlar and I have talked about the decline in birds on the river a good bit lately. Do you think it is okay for the wildlife to lose their home, their food and young just so a few people can boat in water that makes people sick??

          • Tynamite

            No one called you a liar. What I might call you is someone who makes claims with nothing to back them up. I am not calling you a liar, I am doubting your anecdotal evidence. I would love to luck at a study that supports your findings. Then I could decide better what I think of this situation. But you repeatedly talking down to Linda throughout this comment section is not winning you any fans.

  • daniel

    can you take a few fig cuttings from the wild fig trees with figs and mail them to me if I pay for shipping? or I’d love to do a trade some fig cuttings with you if you are interested .I have about 30 varieties of fig trees I can take cuttings from and I also have a large collection of tomato seeds and other garden seeds I can share with you in return.

  • Shan B

    Great read!
    It sounds like a gem, who would have thought?!
    Thanks for exploring, sharing, and inspiring.

  • Caitlin@OurNaturalHeritage

    What an amazing adventure! I’d read about the river restoration but didn’t know that part of it was already open – how exciting!

    • Tony Taylor

      Caitlin there is no river restoration. Its a myth. There is lots of money being spent on things that are needed, no decent people visit, and that are not maintained. This particular endeavor is a very misguided and dangerous exercise.

      • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

        Tony, I’m not sure how you define “decent people” but I suppose that my friends and I, along with all the cyclists, joggers, and families out for a stroll along the river are “indecent” because we happily recreate on it? Needless to say, your comment is misguided.

        I encourage you to visit the links in my post to learn more about the project, as you might not be up to speed on recent developments. I also encourage you to volunteer your time with one of the restoration agencies so that you can actually see what goes on and air your concerns face-to-face with the people in charge.

        • Tony Taylor

          Miss Ly: I have been going to the LA river since like 1979. I have been to hundreds and hundreds of meetings about the river and expressing my concerns. I go out to the river like 4 times a week, I look after the ducks, geese and other birds that you folks really could care less about, I pick up trash, I see dog fights, I call agencies about their not doing the job they are expected to do….empty trash cans, do patrolling, get rid of gangsters (which are increasing). I am totally “up to speed” on what goes on at the river. I really wonder if you are or if you are yet another person who has bought the party line. In all my times at the river I do not see the “agency people” or those who promote these ill planned things, I only see them when they are there to break ground for yet another multi million dollar project that is not about restoring the river, or when they are promoting a project such as this. I along with a goodly number of people who really have the best interests of the river in mind and who are opposed to a lot of these miguided projects went to the 2 public meetings about this current boating fiasco to voice our opinions. Did you attend either of them???? Honestly, I do not see a lot of cyclists on the bike path no matter what time of the day I am there, I do see a lot of joggers and families out for a stroll along the river. I would kindly invite you to come out to the river with me, as I have invited members of the Ad Hoc River Committee and other organizations, to spend a few hours and see the river that most of us see.

          • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

            I went on a weekend and saw at least two dozen people on the bike path and riverbank over those 2.5 miles. “Decent” people, not homeless or gangsters. I guess it happened to be a really beautiful day where everyone wanted to get outside.

            Maybe if you approached these people and organizations with a more positive attitude and some constructive dialog, instead of the negativity and blame I feel from your comments, they’d be more inclined to recognize your concerns. Also, thank you for picking up trash; and to truly save the river, you should inspire others to do the same. On my next trip out there, I plan to recruit my friends, go out there with trash bags and educate curious passersby as well.

          • Tony Taylor

            Good luck Miss Ly. I know you are never going to be convinced that what I have said is true. But my dear it is. You quite obviously are young and have a lot to learn about people and about the river too. You do not know how I approach people or how I have learned to approach people who basically do not care about what you want to talk to them about.I am far from negative…..I am quite realistic. Good luck with recruiting your friends and educating curious passersby. Having done all this before I sincerely doubt you will get too far. You saw 2 dozen decent people. 24 people. Do you consider that a lot of people?? I was at the river today and in some better than 3 hours I saw maybe half that amount, and for one of those hours I did not see anyone on the bike path. As far as homeless and gangsters dear lady they are there and they are there in large numbers. Maybe you do not want to see them but they are there. That is why within the last month at least two bicycle people have been attacked down in the Frog Town area. Drugs are another problem at the river, in Frog Town the little park at Riverdale is a favorite hangout for them.Today where I was in Atwater I there were 9 young people doing their drugs in what we know as Buddy’s park. They came in a group of 4, then 2 on bicycles and the last group was three people. My friend Helena reported she has “tons” of druggies yesterday as well as kids throwing rocks at the wildlife. I am not going to convince you of anything and am not really trying. I have worked on many efforts over the years and believe me miss the river is the hardest to try to deal with. You have a starry eyed view of the river and the boating program that was promoted as being “free”. It is neither free nor is is safe. I speak from years and years of frustration and experience. I will continue doing my thing and working with the dissidents and hopefully at some point more folks will come to our view and understand that its all about the money and not about revitilization.

          • Steven Appleton

            Linda, the photos are beautiful and your engagement with the river quite charming. Thanks for your thoughts. As someone who has lived by the river for many many years and cared for its improvement, I can say definitively that wildlife is flourishing rather than declining. Same with plants, cleaner water and watershed enforcement. Keep up your good spirits. Oh and next year please feel free to join us on LA River Kayak Safari….

  • http://www.oceanicwilderness.com mistiaggie

    Awesome adventure! I’ve read a few stories about the LA River opening up and have always thought it inspirational.

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