Summer is the best time to explore the Los Angeles River, which is why non-profit Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) chose that season to launch Frog Spot, a community oasis in Elysian Valley along the Los Angeles River path, funded by Miss Me and REI.
Though only meant to be a summer affair, Frog Spot was embraced by the community and has lasted up until this winter season. Initial counts estimate more than 10,000 people have come through during the season. The figure only takes into account weekends where staffers can track visitor counts. "It's the first real gathering spot along the river," says FoLAR founder Lewis MacAdams. "There's a sense of people gathering in a new place along the river."
The neighborhood's access to free restrooms, wi-fi, and bicycle amenities (not to mention the more than 100 bands that have played, free art events and other recreational activities) at Frog Spot isn't going to last that much longer, sadly. FrogSpot's last day is December 14.
As of this writing, no firm plans have yet materialized to recreate this for next summer season, but the community's fingers are crossed. FoLAR is working with the property's owner to figure out a way forward. "We don't know yet what will happen," says MacAdams. "We want to recreate it as soon as we can, but we need to rethink some issues such as capital improvements, better water supply ... just how to do it better in general."
In addition, in the few months that Frog Spot has been operational, its neighborhood has already changed dramatically. The expanded Marsh Park opened in August, offering the first permanent public restroom in nine miles along the river path. The neighborhood taco cart has also moved closer on Fletcher and Ripple, offering river goers more options for refreshments and snacks.
In the meantime, FoLAR is inviting everyone to its last slate of activities for December, which include a primer on the California Environmental Review Act (CEQA) (crucial for those concerned about development's impact on wildlife in the neighborhood) on December 6; a Los Angeles River fishing lecture presented by Trout Unlimited and L.A. River Fly Fishing on Saturday, December 7; and an art lecture and workshop by Los Angeles River Rover artist Christian Kasperkovitz, or ELKPEN, who's responsible for the colorful, educational designs of this mobile education lab, on December 14.