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After a month of keeping mum, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has finally unveiled its proposal for this year's summer recreational zone at the Sepulveda Basin.
The Army Corps is proposing to provide a program this year that offers guided and unguided tours of the Los Angeles River between Memorial Day through early-to-mid September, from sunrise to sunset. It then goes further, outlining the possibility of opening the Sepulveda Basin to recreational use for four seasons after under the management of Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA).
"This is a great thing," said MRCA Chief Ranger Fernando Gomez. "This means more access for people to enjoy the river." Gomez clarifies that nothing is yet official; MRCA hasn't been granted an official lease to operate in the Sepulveda Basin.
The Army Corps is now preparing an environmental report on the possible impacts of such a proposal. The agency is seeking public comment from today until April 25. It is also looking for interested partners that wish to offer guided paddling programs in the area.
Once again, the recreational zone would only be open to passive activities such as non-motorized boating, fishing, and birdwatching. Swimming or in-water activities aren't allowed. The zone covers the Los Angeles River from Balboa Boulevard to downstream of Burbank Boulevard, upstream of the Balboa Dam. It extends five feet from either side of the river, but doesn't include the trail system already in place.
Similar to its first incarnation, boaters would access the Los Angeles River under the Balboa Boulevard bridge. They would exit via the trail connecting to Burbank Boulevard, near parking on Woodley Boulevard.
Though the Army Corps' timing might seem quick, Gomez is confident that should the public approve of the plan, MRCA will readily take on the additional recreational zone in the San Fernando Valley area. "We're already preparing for the 2014 season in Glendale Narrows. Rather than just having a 2.5 mile stretch, we would simply be expanding to a different part of the river. We've been prepared for this possibility."
Read the full notice here.
Submit comments 5 p.m., April 25 to Lisa Sandoval, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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