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Lake Hollywood Path Finally Reopens, Plans for New Trail Announced

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Photo: A view of the Hollywood Sign seen from the reopened portion of the path. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET
Photo: A view of the Hollywood Sign seen from the reopened portion of the path. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET

It's been eight years, but the full path around Lake Hollywood Reservoir is now fully open to the public. On property owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the 3.2-mile loop will be accessible to walkers, joggers, and cyclists basically from sunrise to sunset (official hours listed here).

Bear adornments line the south side of the lower dam, which was built in 1924. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET
Bear adornments line the south side of the lower dam, which was built in 1924. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET

"This is what living in a city is all about," exclaimed City Councilman Tom LaBonge at the reopening ceremony this morning.

But he knew that there was one issue that would disappoint many residents. "I know I'm going to lose a few votes on this one," he said, priming the audience, "because it's still a water facility in an emergency, dogs are not allowed."

Unlike Silver Lake and upper Franklin Canyon reservoirs, both which are non-functioning and have dog-friendly walking paths, the water in Lake Hollywood is reserved for use in emergencies, such as an earthquake that knocks out water infrastructure (residents will still need to boil their water).

But dogs may be allowed on a new trail in the works that would connect into Griffith Park via Cahuenga Peak, the mountaintop that neighbors Mount Lee's Hollywood Sign and was once was private property slated for development until the city acquired it in 2010. When completed, which could be in 2015, hikers will be able to travel between Cahuenga Boulevard and the L.A. River by way of Griffith Park and LADWP land.

California Poppies seen along the reopened path. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET
California Poppies seen along the reopened path. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET

Today's opening marks years of work by the city. In 2005 when Southern California was drenched by a number of winter storms, nine significant mudslides occurred around the reservoir, closing the entire popular path. While the eastern portion opened in 2009, it took longer to repair the western side. "The road was wiped out," explained Marty Adams, LADWP's director of water operations. "It looked like a torrent of muddy water dropping off in a waterfall."

Nine mudslides prompted the closure of the Lake Hollywood path. Retaining walls like this were installed. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET
Nine mudslides prompted the closure of the Lake Hollywood path. Retaining walls like this were installed. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET

But fixing the road was not just an issue for the LADWP and city: The project involved Senator Dianne Feinstein, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and neighbors. "It really is an enlightening story of the community itself," said Dr. Craig Davis, LADWP's geotechnical engineering manager.

"It's major engineering story, too," Davis noted, explaining that equipment, sometimes larger than the homes surrounding the lake, had to be transported through private property. And add to that the lawyers: "I think no less than 14 lawyers had to all sign the same agreement... It was really and truly a community effort."

And thanks to all that work, walkers, joggers, and cyclists were already taking advantage the moment the ceremonial ribbon was cut*.

*Okay, actually, there was a funny moment when the scissors failed to cut the ribbon. Councilman LaBonge ended up just lifting it up for people to get through. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET
*Okay, actually, there was a funny moment when the scissors failed to cut the ribbon. Councilman LaBonge ended up just lifting it up for people to get through. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET
The first official steps onto the reopened path. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET
The first official steps onto the reopened path. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET

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