Rafting the LA River, Physically and Mentally

While most Angelenos were away this past weekend, some of us stuck around to have some adventures in Los Angeles. One exploration of note was rafting along the LA River just a few miles north of Downtown. An unforgettable, mostly relaxing at times slightly harrowing experience, it was amazing to directly encounter the River as a running body of water - not the concrete pit that many associate with it. We floated past dozens of birds and fish, snaked through channels covered in flora we didn't know existed, and rushed down a few rapids! Our rafting voyage came at the end of summer full of headlines about the River, particularly about starchitect Frank Gehry's role in its coming transformation. It's an incredibly exciting time for the LA River, but with more eyes comes more scrutiny than ever. Anti-gentrification protestors have recently flocked to river-based kayaking events. And as we walked our raft back to the car, a bicyclist zoomed past, yelling a comment about our whiteness. Though the remark won't stop us from enjoying one of the best nearby natural assets, it is important to consider how we share space and how river-adjacent zones will be used in the coming future. •

You too can have your own LA River adventure! The recreation zone,
running from Fletcher Ave to Oso Park, is open for use til October 1.