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L.A. River Conservation Wins "Green Paddle" Award

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In 2008, a group of river activists kayaked the 51-mile L.A. River in three days to prove it was navigable | Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist

In 2008, a group of river activists kayaked the 51-mile L.A. River in three days to prove it was navigable | Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist
River activist George Wolfe and his L.A. River Expeditions team have won the American Canoe Association's Green Paddle award for their "outstanding contribution to paddlesport by protecting America's waterways."

Wolfe is best known to LAist readers for his gutsy travels down the L.A. river to advocate for Clean Water Act protections for our currently-neglected-but-could-be-great waterway.

Following the well-publicized 2008 expedition down the river, Wolfe foundedL.A. River Expeditions, which is focused on a comprehensive river access policy, improved safety along the river and increased river stewardship. The efforts of L.A. River Expeditions have brought much-needed attention to the plight of the river and led to a landmark announcement by the EPA that the Los Angeles River is considered "traditional navigable waters" and can be protected by the Clean Water Act.

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U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson took it one step further with her comments on July 7, 2010: "We want the L.A. River to demonstrate how urban waterways across the country can serve as assets in building stronger neighborhoods, attracting new businesses and creating new jobs."

Many believe public demand to access our river has reached a turning point this year thanks to George Wolfe's tireless efforts. Upon receiving the award, Wolfe expressed his concern that the Los Angeles River has been ignored and maligned for far too long. "By being on the cutting edge of river activism and by boating down the L.A. River, we're playing a critical role in changing people's perceptions -- and even policy."

In 2011, Wolfe hopes to lead "officially permitted" river excursions down the L.A. river.