Start watching

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

L.A. River Excursion: Bette Davis Picnic Area

Support Provided By

Last weekend while we slept in a bit longer and huddled on our couches under blankets with popcorn and movies, Los Angeles was receiving its last rainstorm before the end of the season. It wasn't the epic storm that some weather stations had forecasted, but enough to make the river swell, providing a much needed cleansing until next season.

The following day Los Angeles looked as though it went through the car wash. Large nimbus clouds hung over the city, and a deep blue sky hung behind like a movie backdrop --almost too blue to be true. The air was crisp and the temperature mild, a perfect day to head down to the river.


The Bette Davis Picnic area at Riverside Drive and Victory Boulevard was active with bird watchers along the river's bank, hoping to to catch a glimpse of a Summer Tanager or Cassin's Vireo, both reported in Los Angeles Audubon Society's rare bird report.

While the water was still rough, the Swift Water Rescue Team took the opportunity to practice drills. Attaching ropes to safety hooks they repelled along the banks, in the event of someone falling into the river. Luckily no one had, as they reported, but the river was fierce, and many do fall in on days with storms like this.

In the park itself, a group of childhood friends from Guatemala City played soccer golf, a game invented by one of the friends, Jorge Estrada, a former soccer pro. Each player takes a turn kicking their ball towards to the homemade goals, taking score as one would in golf. A par is set per "hole," counting the number of kicks to the goal.


So if all you expect to see when heading down to the river is a cement gutter, you will be greatly surprised. Whether it be a horse practicing dance on the cement banks, or fly fishers catching fish for game, the river has much to reveal, even to the seasoned river adventurer.

Remember Angelenos, this is your river: love it, use it, respect it, but most importantly, be safe.


Support Provided By
Read More
Chiqui Diaz at work advocating to end social isolation | Courtesy of Chiqui Diaz

Youth Leaders Making a Difference Honored by The California Endowment

The Youth Awards was created in 2018 to recognize the impact youth voices have in creating change throughout California. Learn more about the positive work they're accomplishing throughout the state.
A 2011 crime scene in Tulare County, where one of Jose Martinez's victims was found. | Courtesy of Marion County Sherff’s Office via FOIA/Buzzfeed

California's Unincorporated Places Can Be Poor, Powerless — and the Perfect Place to Commit Murder

It's time to do better by communities that don’t even have local police to call, let alone defund.
Protesters confront police outside the 3rd Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota after the George Floyd killing | Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

In California, A History of Young, Powerful Voices in Journalism Emerge

In the Golden State, the youth have a long history of storytelling that uncovers little-heard narratives.