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LA River Now Open For Kayaking, Fishing And Walking (Just Check The Water Quality First)

A map of the Elysian Valley Recreation Zone, showing the LA River in blue snaking past the 5 Freeway
The Elysian Valley Recreation Zone
(Google Maps
LA River Recreation)
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In recent years, the Memorial Day opening of the L.A. River Recreation Zones has become an unofficial marker of summer.

Folks can walk, fish, birdwatch, and kayak down parts of the Elysian Valley (east of the 5 Freeway), and the Sepulveda Basin (in the west San Fernando Valley).

The Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone Map
(Courtesy of the Los Angeles River Recreation Zone)

This summer you can also use the new pedestrian and bicycle bridge, Taylor Yard Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge, which connects the Elysian Valley and Cypress Park neighborhoods. It opened as part of the L.A. River revitalization project in March.

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Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell says that the river zones aim to connect L.A. residents "back" to the river, which served as "the foundation of the city."

"It's such an incredible feeling and to see people hike the river for the first time," he added. "It's almost like seeing a child at an amusement park because it's just so fun and different. People connect immediately with what nature can be in an urban environment."

One caveat — if you do venture out kayaking — watch out for the quality of the water. Solar-powered water quality lights stationed at the kayaking entry points show green, yellow and red, warning folks when to avoid the river entirely.

Fernando Gomez with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority says as a general rule, people shouldn't touch or drink the water. If water comes in contact with your eyes or mouth, he advises washing it out.

If you're interested in learning more about the controversial history of the L.A. River, check out our in-depth coverage of the subject.

Is it a river? A sewer? A flood control channel? A place to film awesome drag racing scenes? A tool of gentrifiers to raise property values? What's the deal with the L.A. River, and why should I care about it? Let's find out.

Read: LA Explained: The Los Angeles River

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