Los Angeles River Expedition (LOCALISM FEATURED)

Industry Observer


On July 25, 2008, a group of hardy adventurers will embark on an extraordinary expedition of the Los Angeles River by kayak and canoe, to demonstrate to developers and the Army Corps of Engineers that the LA RIVER is indeed a navigable waterway that should be protected and owned by the people of Los Angeles.

A mighty river in previous centuries, Los Angeles River is now one of the most hydraulically modified urban rivers in the world. Nearly seventy-five  percent of the fifty-two mile long river is enclosed in concrete. Channelization of the river  was initiated in 1938 by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of a massive flood control project  which continued until the late 1950s.  Interest in returning the river to a more natural state has developed in the last few decades.

Here is the proposed timetable for the expedition:

DAY 1 (Fri., July 25th)

o 3:00 pm. Kick-off ceremony/"launch" at the LA River Headwaters on overpass @ Owensmouth; Canoga Park. Supporters welcome.

o 4:00-5:30 pm. Our group explores the Sepulveda Basin. Supporters can park at the parking lot at Balboa Park soccer fields and look for us on river. {6000 Balboa Blvd, Encino, CA 91316. Thomas Guide pg. 531, D1}

o 5:30-7 pm. Our boats travel from beginning of Sepulveda Basin to take-out @ Burbank Blvd. x LA River (100' or so downriver). Supporters can try to find us along that route, or show support atop the banks @ that take-out. Woodley Ave. is the best place to park cars for take-out.

DAY 2 (Sat., July 26th)

o 9:00 am. Riverside talk with Dr. Jenny Price (cars @ Woodley Ave.; talk just downstream from river @ Burbank Ave.; east/Woodley side of river). Supporters welcome.

o 3:00 pm. Griffith Park / Bette Davis Picnic Area. Supporters welcome for riverside picnic @ park.

o 5:30 pm. Atwater Village / Yoga Park; Los Feliz Blvd. x LARiver (100' downriver from there on east side of river @ Dover St.). A speaker will address the crew and anyone else who wants to show up as supporters.

o 7:30 pm. Marsh Park. (end of Marsh Street, off Riverside Drive). Supporters welcome to riverside chat at the park. {2961 Marsh St., LA, CA 90039. Thomas Guide pg. 5944, F3.}

DAY 3 (Sun., July 26th)

o 11 am - 1 pm. Greetings from downtown bridges for anyone who cares to locate us.

o 1:30 pm. Maywood riverside park. Casual bring-your-own-food picnic lunch at their new park. Supporters welcome.

o 3:30 pm. Compton Creek. Explore Dominguez Gap/Slough. Supporters welcome.

o 5:00 pm. Willow Street Estuary {2500 block of De Forest Ave @ 25th Place, Long Beach, CA 90806; Thomas Guide pg. 795, C3.}. Supporters welcome.

o 7 pm. Final take-out at Shoreline Park in Long Beach. Supporters welcome. Celebrate. Plant the flag. Mingle. Closure.

The official expedition press release:  http://www.lalatimes.com/lariver/IR_BoatersPlanDescent07082008.pdf

FOLAR:  Friends of L A River http://folar.org/


Posted by


Cheryl Johnson // Bob Tayor Properties, Inc.


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Sharon Young
Ivy League Mortgage Philadelphia, Pa - Southampton, PA

CJ - being from the east (both north and south) I know nothing about LA except 2 days in Long Beach. (which was beautiful!) It sounds like a lot of fun and should generate a lot of publicity! Good luck and take pictures!

Jul 24, 2008 02:10 AM #1
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

I wonder how many years of leaving it alone it would take to get it back to a natural state.  Have fun and send us the results of your expedition.

Jul 24, 2008 02:15 AM #2
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

@Teri, Given that the river is almost completely paved with concrete throughout its entire length, it no longer really has a natural state. 

On the other hand, given the history of devastation by flooding in the 1800s, some amount of flood control (read channelization with concrete) is probably a necessary evil. 

The present day challenge is to beautify the river as it is, create a habitat that encourages wildlife to return, and create a nearby retreat for city dwellers to enjoy.

Jul 24, 2008 02:49 AM #3
Mike Saunders
Lanier Partners - Athens, GA

Cheryl - I explored much of the L.A. river when I was in my teens growing up in Glendale & La Crescenta. Access was pretty easy, except during the rains. It didn't appear to be navigable along all the stretches even in the late 50's early 60's. It was often dry.

Although navigable by kayak, the effort will probably not earn it a navigable river label.

Good luck.

Jul 24, 2008 03:24 AM #4
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

@Mike, I don't doubt, especially this time of year, there will be stretches the guys just get out, carry the kayaks, and walk.  :-) 

I think this is about making a statement as much as anything else. 

Jul 24, 2008 03:58 AM #5
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

This sounds like a lot of fun -- I wasn't aware there were anything other that freeways!

Jul 24, 2008 11:26 AM #6
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Cheryl, I think it's a wonderful event and hope that they can preserve the river.  Sure sounds like they're making a statement and I hope it's heard.

Jul 24, 2008 12:32 PM #7
Deborah Ryman
Santa Cruz, CA
M.A. Feng Shui Services, Santa Cruz County

It truly sickens me that previous generations were so short-sighted and had such little respect for natural resources, especially water ways.

Where I am from development moved major waterways, towns were buried by damns, all kinds of unspeakable acts were performed in the name of progress.

As for flood prevention, I do not know what the answer is, but it is not what was initiated in the past that killed natural waterways.

I believe people should respect nature and not interfere with the natural course of nature.

Good luck to  this venture.

Jul 24, 2008 04:44 PM #8
Pam Winterbauer
Pam Winterbauer Real Estate - San Ramon, CA
"Providing Blue Ribbon Service"

Cheryl.....this sounds like a great activity and a lot of fun. 

Jul 24, 2008 04:56 PM #9
Ana Connell
G & C Properties - Burbank, CA
Burbank Real Estate Agent

Cheryl this is great!  Years ago I was the Environmental Legislative Deputy for Councilmember Tom LaBonge and worked on the LA River projects in District 4.  This is very exciting to hear!

Someday I'd love to see Folar's vision for the river come to fruition!

Jul 24, 2008 05:02 PM #10
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I love to kayak, usually in the bay and the ocean down here.  Never thought of the LA River.

Jul 24, 2008 06:03 PM #11
Daniel Bates
MCVL Realty - McClellanville, SC
McClellanville and Awendaw, SC

That's a river? It looks like drainage ditch to me :-)

Jul 25, 2008 12:49 AM #12
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

@Daniel ... That's the rub.  It was a river.   Starting back in the 1930s, it was "channelized", that is, paved with concrete and basically turned into a drainage ditch to help control flooding.  People want to make it look a little more like a river again.   That said, Los Angeles is basically a desert, so the L A River is more like a desert arroyo.

Jul 25, 2008 01:00 AM #13
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


What an adventure!  I'm looking forward to learning more. 

(What's the @sign?)

Mike in Tucson

Jul 25, 2008 04:28 AM #14
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

@Mike: It's a Twitter affectation.  :-)   It indicates a reply to a particular individual. 

Jul 25, 2008 04:54 AM #15
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