LA River kayaks

A group of kayakers prepare to enter the L.A. River in Elysian Valley during the first year the L.A. River Recreation Zone opened in 2013.

Elysian Valley -- There goes another source of recreation for the year. Kayaking will not be allowed on the L.A. River over the summer.

For the usual reason.

"No one will be able to enter the water—not individuals, not vendors, not groups," said Dash Stolarz, director of public affairs for the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. "This is because of COVID-19."

The river recreation season will otherwise follow the usual schedule. It will open on May 25 and run through Sept. 30 for all the other usual activities, such as walking birding and fishing.

But the MRCA will not issue permits for in-water, non-motorized boating.

"As you all know, this is a very hands-on activity that is typically done in groups and sometimes requires close proximity if someone were to capsize and/or need help to steer navigate," reads a statement online. "Furthermore, currently there is a lack of protocol for in water activities, as well as cleansing and sanitizing equipment."

For Steven Appleton, owner of L.A. River Kayak Safari, the MRCA’s decision came suddenly, without any prior discussion. Aside from group activities like his own business offers, he noted that exceptions still could have been found for individuals and their own watercraft.

"Why is it that the governor’s list of safe activities includes solo canoeing - and if that’s the case, why wasn’t there a discussion?" Appleton said.

At another kayaking operation, Jeffrey Tipton, president of LA River Kayaks, said he’ll have to find other ways to get through the summer. He has applied for a grant through the MRCA, and is working on a "virtual L.A. River kayaking experience." But this cancelation of kayaking is a disappointment.

"During the summer, I’m devoted to the L.A. River," Tipton said. "That’s where my heart is at."

This is the second year in a row in which kayakers have met with restrictions. Last year, they found their route shortened to accommodate construction of the Taylor Yard Bridge.

Talk is Cheap, Gathering News is Not

Join the readers whose monthly sponsorships defray the costs of gathering news and storytelling. That includes covering a variety of bills — from web hosting to bookkeeping — as well as payments to writers and photographers who have been generous with their time and talent. Only $5.99 a month!

Load comments