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Legal LA River Kayaking Has Begun in the Valley

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It's still far from the Seine, but the LA River's transformation into more than a concrete-lined storm channel continues with the introduction of kayaking on a stretch of the waterway near Lake Balboa, close to Encino and Van Nuys. The Los Angeles Times and Daily News both cover the historic achievement, which began yesterday when flood control officials and City Councilmen Tony Cardenas and Ed Reyes went down a 1.5 mile, soft-bottom stretch of the river (they were joined by professional kayakers and naturalists, just in case they tipped over or missed spotting a heron). The kayaking became possible after the Environmental Protection Agency deemed the 51 mile long LA River navigable last year; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the permits for a pilot kayaking program last month--they were the ones who lined the river with concrete back in the 1930s to prevent floods. Starting Saturday, the public can paddle along this lush stretch of the river (be prepared for trash and dead animals, though) on weekends through late September. Cost is $50 per person. The Times reports that "the program could be expanded later to include other scenic portions of river such as a lush, eight-mile stretch north of downtown known as the Glendale Narrows and the river estuary at Long Beach."
· Launching a New Vision of the LA River [LA Times]
· First Kayaks Hit Urban Waterway [Daily News]
· LA River [Official Site]
· LA River Archives [Curbed LA]