LA River whitewater beckons kayak enthusiasts
Okay, there are no actual whitewater portions on the LA River, barring a generational flood event. But there are actual, honest-to-goodness kayaking tours being offered for the upper river. Last year, for the first time in 70 years tours were allowed on the LA River. In 2011, 290 slots sold out in 10 minutes; in 2012, 2000 slots sold out in 2 hours. Is LA the next big thing in kayaking?
This operation is made possible by a coalition of local agencies and partners, including the city of Los Angeles, the Army Corps of Engineers, the for-profit L.A. River Expeditions, and nonprofits including the River Project, Friends of the River, Urban Semillas and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Last year’s program was a success, this year has met with even greater popularity, and who knows what the future may bring?
The current route offers only 1.5 miles of paddling pleasure, in the Sepulveda Basin between Balboa and Burbank boulevards. What wonders of nature might you see on such a journey? Egrets, hawks, and blue herons abound among natural brush and water plants. Um… do rusty shopping carts and plastic bags count as nature? Probably not, but they are an ever-present sight along the narrow channel. No one is going to mistake this for a voyage among pristine waters, but it is a unique opportunity to see a side of the city that is seldom glimpsed.
The Los Angeles Conservation Corps offers river trips Tuesday through Saturday, $25 per person for one-hour trips and $50/person for two-hour trips. L.A. River Expeditions offers the same trips at similar prices. Both programs are currently sold out, but they are accepting reservations for their waiting lists and there remains the possibility of expanded events. Contact them directly for more information.