Lewis MacAdams said it recently: people want to use the river as parkland. They want to, and they will. It's inevitable that a transition from disuse to use will be rocky because the river literally is not made to be enjoyed -- at least insofar as the river as built environment goes. The cement-lined channels makes the water move unnaturally fast; the exotic fish are said to be toxic as human meals; the cement walls are steep, in some places vertical. Bit by bit the river itself has undone some of the damage: unauthorized trees grow in the riverbed and lots of other plants, depositing even more silt and rocks and other natural material. In some places it's beautiful. And people have mitigated some of the cement, too, Friends of the L.A. River, for one.
In the last couple of weeks, Nature Trumps has been reporting on people getting tickets for being at the river near Elysian Park. The site points to Eric Garcetti as a foe of river use, supporter of tickets. I emailed Garcetti's office about this, and Julie Wong replied:
On the LA River question, the public has not been allowed to go into the channel for any reason (including fishing) for decades because of public safety concerns. For safety reasons, Council President Garcetti (along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, LAPD, the LA Fire Department, and others) does not support changes to this policy.
Well, Chicken Corner supports changes to the policy of allowing the river to be unsafe. Because, yes, after a storm, it can be VERY unsafe down there. How about signs warning of the dangers instead of signs declaring the river off-limits? Like we do at the ocean? How about removing the concrete?
Meanwhile, Jay Babcock of Nature Trumps is looking to help ticketed river users fight the power. Because they will enjoy the river.