From north of downtown. Every time I’m in town I try to stop by a different section of the Los Angeles River – this time I visited the part of the river immediately north of downtown. This stretch is surrounded by the 5 and the 134 freeways and the concrete almost seems to shake at times when large trucks go over the bridges. From looking at some of these photos you might think this river could be in the mountains, or in a very natural setting, not completely surrounded by concrete and certainly not so close to downtown Los Angeles! The freeway noise is incessant in this area and it takes a lot of concentration to block it out. When the water is high enough here there are even small rapids and we saw a surprisingly large number of various birds hanging out. Yes, we even saw some small fish.
My peaceful time was unfortunately interrupted by a fish tailing truck on the 5 northbound which crashed into a tree and exploded into a fireball and smoke which plumed way up into the air. Finally firefighters came and this grey smoke turned to white as it was doused but not before backing up traffic for miles. Three hours later traffic was still backed up in this section in that direction.
From south of downtown. When you stand solitary on North Main Street next to the railroad tracks above the Los Angeles River all you feel is a deep sadness as you look down on a river that has been dramatically altered in a relatively short amount of time. You look down on a dirty river that now flows dark, a concrete river juxtaposed with brightly colored graffiti where those entrapped by the city, drugs, gangs and poverty territorially cry out with their markings. Electrical lines, bridges, rubble and old fences all decorate the banks of what was originally the lifeblood of Los Angeles. If you do not happen to be on North Main Street, any of a number of bridges in this area will afford one the same views. Close your eyes and think back 100 years to a time when this actually was a natural river, with trees and grass growing along its banks. Or, if your imagination has been corrupted beyond hope by the scene that lies in front of you, simply Google ‘LA River 1900’ or something like that.
For more information about the Los Angeles River or to volunteer visit the “Friends of Los Angeles River” – http://www.folar.org
There is a lot of potential and plans in the works for the LA River (especially in the very industrialized area east of downtown).
The natural river was destroyed in the 1930’s but now has a long yet hopeful road towards revitalization:
ken stevens says
Very educational for an old git that seldom goes far nowadays. Well done.
Care and diligence bring luck. Happy Tuesday.
Hi Dave just looked up your site as you have followed me. I’m honored.We are having trouble in Australia in rivers being degraded and the powers to be allow it to continue at an alarming rate. It is happening all over in this country and it is sad to see.Plants and animals dying because of the greed of some. Our grand children will suffer as a result of our actions.On a positive side the boat is coming on and will be used to travel the rivers here and I will do more filming of the destruction.Places that are not effected will be photographed and kept for comparison at a later date Cheers Stewart
Hey! I just wanted to say thanks for the follow. You’ve got a great site here. I look forward to exploring the posts.
Thanks for your invitation, please if you like Italy, try to visit http://www.caseinItaly.com!! You are welcome.
Daniel Rodriguez says
Hi Dave, many times to have seen the concrete riverbed, but empty, We will see in films and TV series. I never would have imagined it like you samples in your pictures. This river is strangely beautiful.
Roger Dautais says
Bravo pour ton reportage très bien écrit et qui nous renseigne sur cette partie de rivière ” coincée entre deux autoroutes. Les photos sont pas mal et complètent bien le tableau.
J’imagine qu’une telle rivière n’échappe pas à la pollution urbaine de Los Angeles même si elle n’est pas réellement visible.
Thanks Roger – yes you are right, its almost impossible to avoid the pollution from this major urban area. Visibly up close the water is certainly not as clean as a mountain stream, but organizations are definetely working to improve the overall quality of the LA River Channel.
Stewart – thanks for posting. I think if Los Angeles can develop a successful rehabilitation plan and implement it, especially in one of the worst areas south east of downtown, that will be a model for other urban areas. Sorry to hear about the problems with rivers in Australia – you certainly don’t have the population we do do – I guess most of the problems are located close to the urban areas – coastal areas in Australia?
Something what time can do…and we humans.
Hopefully time corrects as well…
Thanks for the shots/view.
Solange Belém says
Hello, Dave, my dear friend!
Beautiful photos. The man must preserve nature, it is our greatest asset.
A friendly hug and continuing good week for you.
Greetings from Brazil.
Beautiful landscapes, the water runs always, the photos are a luxury, I am sorry so much what happens to him to this river, since to all our planet!
really glad I found you Dave. Love the title “Above the Clouds” – your site is highly entertaining. look forward to sipping wine, searching and sifting through your finds and dreaming…
Hi Dave,just got across here.Been lost in Ethiopia so my site was not accessible.
I like your concern for the river.But there’s hope.In my travels I see a lot of environmental destruction of past decades being remedied today because of growing awareness about what we’ve done.I just revisited UK’s once industrial Midlands,deep coal, steel and other industry grime country up until the 90’s.But today green, colourful, and beautiful.
thnks for following my blog
visited your blog
Sad, isn’t it? I grew up around the L.A. area and when we’d drive the freeways I thought the L.A. River was actually just another water drainage area. I hope it can be turned back into a real river sometime in the future. Thanks for the great article.
Born and raised in Los Angeles and I agree with Deanna: Up until 15 years ago, I thought “Los Angeles River” was a snarky name for the drainage areas. In 1994, I discovered you can ride your bike south from the 210 freeway in Azusa all the way down to Seal Beach via a bike path that is part of the Los Angeles River (and its tributaries) reclamation project. It is a super cool bike ride and easier than you’d anticipate. Some of it is still just concrete, but other sections are really quite pretty.