By all reports, the LA River was packed with kayakers yesterday as about two and a half miles through the Elysian Valley opened to the public for the first time since the river was covered in concrete decades ago. The exec director of the Santa Monica Conservancy tells the LA Times "It's been since the '30s when someone could come and legally recreate in the river," which is pretty mindblowing ("recreate" means boating, fishing, strolling, etc.). The river's open through Labor Day as a pilot program; if it's successful, the area could open annually, so everyone be on your best behavior. As urbanist Alissa Walker writes on her blog, "This part of the river is so visible that you can see it from the Fletcher Bridge as well as a few different freeways. With the bike path so heavily used, plus so many people who actually live along the way, this is going to be the place that's going to truly transform the way Angelenos see their river."
Walker also cautions, however, that "this part of the LA River is wide, rocky and a bit gnarly. Along most of the route the water is only calf-deep, but the river is fast and deep in a few spots and I'd say half of our group took unexpected swims." Brand-new City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell also thinks the area's a bit too rocky, according to KPCC, so perhaps that'll be dealt with.
Here are all the details on visiting, and meanwhile, enjoy snapshots from Day One of the LA River's brand new life.
· Kayaking in my neighborhood [A Walker in LA]
· Here's Your Summer Fun Guide to the Newly-Opened LA River [Curbed LA]