LOS ANGELES — Last summer’s non-motorized pilot boating program offered 280 opportunities for a rare trip down the Los Angeles River. The coveted tickets sold out in minutes, according to Yasmin Mero-Corona, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps’ Paddle the LA River project coordinator.
This year, two non-profit organizations, LA Conservation Corps and the San Joaquin River Stewardship Program received a permit from the District. They offered 2,000 seats with the same result, sold out in minutes and stand-by lists at capacity.
And interest in expanding the program to other suitable areas is growing.
"We are currently working with the City of Los Angeles, the County Department of Public Works and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority," said Lisa Sandoval, realty specialist asset management division. "They would like to expand the non-motorized boating program to the Glendale Narrows area and we are looking to have a pilot program in place by next summer."
Mero-Corona emphasized that education is an important component of their program. This year, Wednesdays are designated for non-paid youth trips in partnership with The River Project. They present a history lesson prior to the kayaking trip and later follow up with the students for a project showcasing what they learned about the river.
"For years, the Los Angeles River through the Sepulveda Basin has been reserved for our efforts in flood risk management," added Sandoval.
The District’s own work on river ecosystem restoration and studies aim to restore a more natural habitat where appropriate, improve its water quality and enhance recreational benefits, all while maintaining its flood damage reduction capability. We are a fully committed partner to the city’s Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan.
With much of the 1.5-mile course a tranquil ride, the exception is the start of the journey with equal parts portage and paddling. Boaters must navigate the Cattail Chute and the Lake Balboa Ledge within the first quarter-mile of their trip.
The tours are scheduled to run through September 30.