L.A. River in One Word

Many Angelenos can empathize with the sentiment so famously stated by Oscar Wilde that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.  There was a time when no one was talking about the L.A. River.  After a series of floods in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers channelized the 51 mile long river.  The river effectively disappeared.  People forgot it was there.  Well, the L.A. River is back.  Today, people aren’t just talking about the L.A. River, they are talking about its verdant and vibrant future.  To Mr. Wilde, I say — even better than being talked about is being talked about with hope.  Hope is afloat on the L.A. River, and it’s a beautiful thing.  Take a look.

The Council for Watershed Health asked people to use one word to describe the LA River today and to use one word to describe the LA River of the future.


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A few brave folks have already taken the plunge into the L.A. River’s natural, playful, and more accessible future.  Check out NRDC’s Damon Nagami’s blog post and video about kayaking the L.A. River last summer.  I’m told that L.A. River Expeditions is already preparing for the 2013 kayaking season.

In celebration of Earth Day 2013, several groups are organizing events along or near the L.A. River.  There's the North East Trees Earth Day Fest at the Los Angeles River Center & Gardens; an afternoon of outdoor activities, urban camping, and earth talks at the nearby Los Angeles Historic State Park for Earth Day Latino; and 15 miles of open road on the new CicLAvia route that, like the L.A. River, takes you to the sea.

I hope that projects like these will continue to raise awareness, encourage river restoration efforts, and expand public access to this great, wild resource.

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