Memorial Day

Paddle the LA River: Tickets Available Now

Kayaks'll roam our urban waterway in the weeks ahead.

While many a traveler will splash about in a pool over Memorial Day Weekend, or the ocean, or perhaps a Sierra stream, there's one famous stretch of H2O which won't see the same kind of action: the Los Angeles River.

But let's pause a moment to daydream here. Perhaps one day, not too far down the road, the LA River will be the place vacationers say they're headed for the weekend, for some cycling, some picnicking, and some kayaking, too.

The long-view transformation for the urban waterway has already begun, with destinations like The Frog Spot keeping river life humming, and biking paths, and the annual fishing derby.

And, of course, the always-sold-out, mega-beloved Paddle the LA River program from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.

The program, which gives people a chance to take to the river via a kayak, with a guide at the helm, has gone through a few twists over the years. Of course, the river itself has faced some bends and twists, having spent decades as a distinctly non-recreational entity. But advocates have long worked for the river to return to its wilder roots.

An essential thing to know for 2016 is this: Paddle the LA River is a go every Saturday from June 4 through Sept. 17, with limited spots.

Yes, the days are fewer, but the corps will devote the other days of the week to clean-up and river-enhancing projects.

And while fewer days mean fewer spots, you'll be paying fewer dollars for a day of kayaking: $30. That's in honor of the 30th anniversary of the corps, which has done much good over its three decades of serving both the community and the conservation cause.

Where will you meet, once you secure a ticket and date? Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilenson Park.

Is everything covered by your thirty bucks, including equipment and guide? Yep.

Will you spy an egret or heron or one of the many birds and/or beasties that live in and along the water? Most probably.

And when will Angelenos start saying, as a regular response to what their Memorial Day travel plans might be, "we're spending the weekend at the LA River?" With clean-ups, care, and growing recreational use, that date could be approaching faster than we think.

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