Get your river rambling on, Los Angeles! This Memorial Day, the Los Angeles River Pilot Recreational Zone officially opens to the public. After a comment period and raised concerns from the neighborhood, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) have ironed out all the details, which you can find here.
"Having the recreational zone open feels wonderful," says Walt Young, MRCA Chief of Operations, "It would have have been possible without the Army Corps of Engineers, the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and the City."
From sunrise to sunset Memorial Day (May 27) through Labor Day (September 2), a 2.5-mile stretch of the river in Elysian Valley, between Rattlesnake Park near Fletcher Avenue and Steelheard Park near San Fernando Road, will be open to the public for kayaking, walking, birdwatching, and fishing with permits. Pets, barbecues, glass containers or swimming among others, however, are not permitted in the area.
Individuals are encouraged to bring their own kayaks, but organized groups such as schools or non-profits need to request for a permit, which could take up to five days to process. For those without kayaks in their garages, MRCA has reached out to private operators to offer the service.
MRCA has provided a map showing the path with notes on river rapid conditions aimed especially at kayakers. Markers will be placed on the trail to guide boaters.
The Recreation Zone follows a slightly different format from last summer's Sepulveda Basin kayaking program. This iteration has opened the river to even more people free of charge.
Because safety and wildlife protection is a priority, MRCA has spelled out some safety regulations. Since no lifeguards are on duty, organized groups going boating will be required to wear helmets and lifejackets to protect themselves. Individuals over 13 years old however will only need to have the gear on board, clarified Young. Those under 13 years of age need to use the safety gear.
Young hopes the recreational zone will just be the beginning of many more things to come. "I hope this is will be a baby step for more river recreation, removal of some concrete, and increased public access to the river."
An opening event will be held on Memorial Day, 10am, at Marsh Park.