Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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The Badlands of Elysian Park

Elysian ParkThe western end of Elysian Park is heavily used by residents of the surrounding communities. Every day there are hundreds of dog walkers, joggers, wanderers, a couple of horses who trod the dirt trails on this edge of the 600-acre park. It is rare that I don't see either a person I know or at least a dog I recognize while I walk my dog and enjoy the views and the feeling of floating above the city and all its problems. Meanwhile, the eastern half of Elysian Park is the badlands. It is green, lovely and under-used in terms of g-rated recreation. Portions of it are enjoyed mainly by cruisers, drug dealers and cops. I have a friend who once walked his dog, Frisbee, on the east end, and a cop asked him what he was doing there. (Answer: walking my dog.) He now drives to the other side of the park for Frisbee's outings.

But the east side is vast and lonely. There is a reservoir, a ghost aqueduct, barely used meadows, giant public art no one sees up close. I know because I once went on an excellent two-hour tour of this side of the park. The tour was given by Scott Fajack, representing both the Echo Park Historical Society and the Citizens' Committee to Save Elysian Park. Scott is an architect for the DWP, and he is passionate about the history of the park. This Saturday, Sept. 23, Scott will lead followers through the eastern fields of Elysian Park, at 10 a.m.

According to the Echo Park Historical Society's website:

This tour takes about two hours to complete and includes walking up and down hills and upon unpaved trails. Reservations required. Please visit the Walking Tour section of for details.

Photo: View of Downtown from Elysian Park
By Cindy Bennett

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