By BARRY LANK
The L.A. River is reopening on Memorial Day for another summer of kayaking, fishing and hiking. But this year you will be able to check the water quality before you go to find out if it’s safe or too filthy to get wet.
Kayakers, hikers and anglers heading to the river can check L.A. Sanitation’s web page for the levels of E. coli bacteria in the Elysian Valley and Sepulveda Basin sections of the river. The water will be tested twice a week, with the color coded results indicating water quality:
- Green: Bacteria levels are relatively low and the water quality is suitable for recreational activities (but not swimming)
- Yellow: Users should exercise increased caution about water quality. In the past authorities have advised river goers against submerging your head underwater and limiting water contact with your face and mouth.
- Red: The river is closed to the public after unsafe levels of bacteria are detected. Closure advisories will be issued and signs will be posted along the river.
In all cases, no matter the testing results, swimming is never recommended in the river.
A protocol for closing the river and notifying the public during excessive fecal levels was adopted last February by the L.A. City Council, six months after government agencies failed to notify the public of E.coli levels that hit 100 times the federal safety limit for swimming and recreation. The public was alerted instead by an environmental group called Heal the Bay just before a kayaking race.
The two recreation zones will be open this year from Memorial Day, May 28 through September 30.
L.A. River Summer Guide
Here are some tips, rules and advice for a visit to the L.A. River Recreation Zone bounded by the neighborhoods of Cypress Park, Elysian Valley and Glassell Park. You can find more info here.
Residents are allowed to bring non-motorized, steerable boats (think kayaks and canoes) down the Class I river rapids, which takes about 2-½ hours from Rattlesnake Park to Confluence Park in Elysian Valley. No inner tubes or floaty mats.
Sign Up For A Guided Kayak Tour
Starting this holiday weekend, three private outfitters will offer kayak tours of the 2.5-mile stretch of the Glendale Narrows in Elysian Valley.
Fish On The River
Make sure you get a permit. And be careful where you swing that pole.
Sorry, No Pets
Dogs are not allowed in the river channel but are welcome on the paths at the top.
Keep An Eye Open For Community Paddle Evenings
Keep an eye out for these free events for Elysian Valley residents who will get instruction and paddling time.
- The Friends of the L.A. River, which runs the Frogspot, will start holding second Saturday events beginning June in the Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park in Elysian Valley. A schedule will be posted soon.
- The annual L.A. River Boat Race is postponed until 2019
- Not everything happens on the Elysian Valley side of the river. Venture into the Bowtie Project in Glassell Park for Reading by Moonrise on June 27.
The simplest things are best. Pack a picnic and head to Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park (or any other riverside parklet) for an afternoon of DIY dining.