In his TIME magazine piece about a recent LA River kayaking excursion, writer Jens Erik Gould points out that the hazards of a recently and temporarily opened-to-boaters section of the concrete waterway are largely man-made:
Kayaking down a ledge, my boat became stuck on a rusted shopping cart lurking in the water, and it took me a while to get free. I saw dozens more during the three-hour trip. My kayak sailed through clusters of trash including empty Styrofoam noodle containers, spray-paint cans and vitamin-bottle caps…
The water was undoubtedly full of pesticides from storm drains that empty into the waterway. As Ignacio Garcia, one of our guides from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, put it: “It would be beautiful if there were no trash.”
Nonetheless, Gould gives credit for this new LA leisure activity option where credit is due. It’s all thanks to activist George Wolfe, whose efforts helped spark the formation of the pilot program Paddle the LA River! The final weekend of this summer’s permitted excursions is scheduled for September 24-25.