Helping hands – and shovels – for Echo Park Lake

Dream Center volunteers on patrol for trash at Echo Park Lake./Darrell Kunitomi

Many fans of Echo Park Lake have expressed concern about how the lake and park will fare after it reopened this past weekend after a nearly two-year clean up. After spending more than $45 million in clean-water bond money on the project, city officials have said there are no plans to boost the budget for maintenance  or security for the park.

Some groups and individuals, however, have stepped in to help and try and keep the park clean and pristine, which is no easy task.  On Wednesday morning,  for example, a group of volunteers from the Dream Center, which is affiliated with Angelus Temple across the street from the park, was out with brooms, shovels and bags to collect trash and litter, said Echo Park resident Darrell Kunitomi, who snapped the photo above.

Meanwhile, real estate agent Brock Harris has formed Friends of Echo Park Lake to help support the park. It’s not clear what role Friends of Echo Park Lake will play but Harris said that his model is Friends of Griffith Park, a nonprofit group dedicated to sustaining the park and its environment.

The goal is to promote “the lake as a public space,” Harris said of Friends of Echo Park Lake. “Since Echo Park Lake is basically in perfect condition, we want to focus on people, programs and activities.”

There are also many individuals who are acting on their own to keep the park  clean.

“There was a guy walking around the lake in front of me, and the whole way around he picked up every piece of trash he saw,” one park visitor said via email. “People like this have to be recognized in our community, and we need more of them to make the restoration of the lake worth it.”


  1. Staying on the posi note. Am concerned like everyone else who has posted over past 72 hours.

    What isn’t mentioned is the vol’s I witnessed, photographed and spoke to were from the state of Montana.

    I repeat: they came from the state of Montana to help maintain Echo Park. We locals can do same.

  2. Opening Day, Echo Park Lake.

    I saw a guy picking up each piece of trash he saw – and I thanked him.

    “It all starts today, doesn’t it?” he replied.

  3. Clean up volunteers are awesome but I’m still a bit weary of the mindset of some of these folks. Just don’t tell me how to use the park and we’ll be cool.

    • …don’t violate any of the rules and I’ll definitely not say anything to you.

      • Double ditto — all peeps is saaayin’, is give park a channnce. To be a nice and cool place. That’s all.

        Use as you like, all welcome — and judging from what I’ve seen and I’ve been every darn day to check it out since last Saturday — more peeps than ever are visiting, recreating, exercising and picking up litter. Care goin’ on, big time.

        Even kid’s toy trunk at bottom of lake near boathouse was fished out in 24 hours. I was going to net it out tomorrow, someone beat me to it.

  4. Living a couple blocks away, I’d love to be part of a volunteer effort to keep the park clean. Something like a bi-monthly trash pick-up brigade? It’s not a big park so a small group could sweep through fairly quickly.

    • I love the idea of an organized bi-monthly clean-up.

      It would be even cooler if it was sponsored by a local merchant each month – like “get a free beer at Mohawk Bend for the first X amount of volunteers to sign up for this date”… or “20% off your next purchase at Stories books for the first X amount of volunteers to sign up for that date.”

      Keeping the park clean is the best part, of course. But a free beer would be pretty cool as well.

    • Grahm Wellington

      I mirror your sentiment but short of an organized group we can all do our part. I use the park daily for a run. Run twice around then on my third “cool down” lap I walk and pick up every bit of trash I see. If we work it in to our daily visits, the park will stay pristine!

      I would like that free beer from Mohawk though…

  5. Hopefully the friends of Echo Park group can help promote a communal effort to preserve the condition of the park. One area of concern I have already noticed is that the irrigation on the parking strip lawn surrounding the park is already failing. If this is not fixed immediately the young sod will never take root – as it is the sod may already be a goner. There typically should be a warranty for the installation of this system if there is an authority in place to hold the contractor responsible. What can be an easy fix, if left untreated will become a giant mess without early action.

    • Unfortunately the Friends of Echo Park Lake doesn’t mention anything about helping maintain the park just help just “promoting the use, programming and enjoyment” none of which really need promoting so what’s the real purpose of this group.

  6. I was at the park yesterday and there was a lot of trash. I saw 2 older women with a younger boy get up from where they were sitting and left a nice pile of trash just sitting in the grass. The same people 4 minutes later walk right by their trash pile and I was like “oh, they are probably going to grab their trash now.” Nope! Just looked at it and let one of their dogs drag some of it in it’s mouth a few yards. I will say that there are definitely not enough trash cans around, but still that is no excuse. By the time I left I had a plastic vons bag full of other people’s trash.

    • Grahm Wellington

      Why didn’t you say something? You don’t have to be rude. Just say something. 9 of 10 will go back and pick up after themselves…

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