Rediscovering a Forgotten Space Along the San Gabriel River

Youth Voices takes a walk along the San Gabriel River path
Youth Voices takes a walk along the San Gabriel River path.

During this week's Youth Voices class, Sean Duren from Amigos de los Rios stopped by to talk to the students about their projects located along the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River. The students were inspired to think about how they could collaborate with Amigos to improve a space in their community.

The class decided to take a walk along the river path that runs along the back of Mountain View High School, and look at a space that seems to have been created as a resting spot for travelers along the path. Now, due to neglect, it has become an unused, unknown space. Students began to imagine what the space once was, and, with the help of Sean, what it could become.

We documented the walk with photographs, which may be used as evidence that there's a need to revitalize this site.


The San Gabriel River runs along the back of Mountain View High School. Gates along the path allow pedestrian access to and from the river.


Alexis talks about the narrow area available for pedestrians on the river path. He often runs with a group of middle school students, and knows first hand how tight the path can become with bicyclist, pedestrians and horses.


Water gathers along the school's back gate, where the student athletic teams often run. Students have been known to get hurt running along this areas due to stepping on rocks and holes hidden under the soft dirt.


The other side of path offers a view of a heron flying over the San Gabriel Riverbed.


This pocket park sits between the school and the river, just south of Valley Boulevad. A path from this major thoroughfare is visible on the top right, while the school's athletic field can be seen on the left. A hitching post can also be seen near the center.


The students are familiar with the pocket park, but are unclear as to who built it. Sean offered some ideas on what could enhance the park's appeal, and the students offered their own ideas: adding plants, lighting, a play area and signage. They even suggested that this could be a great place to watch school games.


Aaron stands near the middle of the park, where seating is visible along the edges. Trash is everywhere but the potential of the park is clear to the students. Now it's up to them to investigate its origins, and who has jurisdiction over the location. Depending on what they discover this may be the community cause some of them take on for their Youth Voices project.


Photos by Sarahi Santos and Rubi Fregoso

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