Los Angeles River recreation areas will open for the 2020 summer season on Memorial Day, but kayaking and other in-water activities will be restricted due to coronavirus, officials announced Thursday.
Bird watching, walking and fishing will be permitted as they have been for the past eight consecutive summers, officials said, but all boats will be banned as the recreation zones open Monday in the Elysian Valley and the Sepulveda Basin in Encino.
"This pandemic is affecting every aspect of our lives, including how we spend our recreational time," said Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, whose district includes Elysian Valley. "Although COVID-19 is limiting our access … we can still enjoy the river environment while following physical distancing and other public health guidelines that protect ourselves and others."
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The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) manages the two natural sections of the river in coordination with the city, county and Army Corps of Engineers. MRCA rangers will patrol the rivers this summer to ensure visitors abide by the rules, officials said.
MRCA Chief Ranger Fernando Gomez said the limitations are in place to protect public safety.
"We cannot allow kayak or other boat access to the Los Angeles River," he said. "No one -- not individuals, nor organized groups, nor vendors -- will be permitted to take a boat in the water this year. People will still be able to access the recreation zones to walk, bird watch, and fish, provided they comply with all public health orders and maintain a minimum physical distance of six feet from others, and wear a face covering."
Los Angeles River recreation areas will be open from Monday through Sept. 30.