Fast Facts: Boating on Los Angeles River

LOS ANGELES — Yes, you read the headline right – there are boating opportunities on portions of the Los Angeles River. Even kayakers have a place to roam along what is probably one of the most overlooked waterways in Southern California.

The Los Angeles River isn’t the first body of water to come to mind when thinking of Southern California. Much of what once was a flowing river was converted into what most people see nowadays: a wide, cemented canal almost devoid of water.

There are stretches of the river, however, now ripe for recreational vessel use, thanks to efforts spearheaded by the city of Los Angeles and a variety of private interests.

Kayak vendors occupy some portions of the Los Angeles River, while seasonal boating and fishing is permitted at Glendale Narrows (near Griffith Park).

Whether the Los Angeles River becomes a regular destination for anglers, boaters or kayakers remains to be seen. The river’s history, however, is quite interesting.

Members of the Tongva tribe, for example, established settlements along the banks of the Los Angeles River – mostly near where the iconic City Hall building stands today. The original Pueblo de Los Angeles was washed away in the early 1800s after the river overflowed and caused heavy flooding.

Major flooding in 1914 caused so much damage in the Los Angeles area that local residents demanded action to prevent future catastrophe. The river was converted into a canal system by the 1960s.

Nearly 50 years later there are efforts to bring the Los Angeles River back to life for recreational and aesthetic purposes.

Sources: City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Department of Public Works

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