02 August 2010


That's right, these were all taken along the Los Angeles River, around the Sepulveda Basin wildlife preserve and dam. They are not manipulated images. This is what it looks like.

The river was recently designated a "traditionally navigable waterway" by the Army Corps of Engineers. (A group of intrepid explorers proved it so by kayaking down it to the ocean.) That means that it is now regulated by the Federal Clean Water Act. I wouldn't swim in these places yet, but maybe someday that will be a reasonable thing to do.

There are two main areas in which the river is in something approximating its natural state: here at the Sepulveda Basin in the Valley, and over near Griffith Park and my neighborhood in the area known as the Glendale Narrows.

There were grizzly bears spotted along the banks of the Los Angeles river as recently as 125 years ago. People used to fish in it. For my entire life it has been regarded as a joke - no more than a 51 mile long concrete drainage ditch.

Call me crazy, which I'm sure plenty of you will, but I love the Los Angeles river, the way it curves through the city's neighborhoods largely unnoticed on its journey to the Pacific Ocean. The way it mixes up what most people consider a real riparian environment with a bizarre angular urban architecture.

I'm currently writing part two of a three part series of thematically-linked novellas. It's set along the river and I've been enjoying my excursions for research.