Access and Use
NEAR-TERM RECREATIONAL ACCESS AND USE
OF THE LOS ANGELES RIVER
This team has reviewed the current public uses of the River with a particular focus on the issues associated with River access. Our purpose is to make recommendations for consideration by the key government agencies, with the intent of opening a dialogue through which we can craft a workable policy that will satisfy the agencies’ concerns while providing for the needs of the general public, consistent with both the natural and man-made nature of this unique River. As part of our review, we have also looked at the revitalization plans for the Los Angeles River, the current policies and legal authorities of the responsible agencies, underlying historic and legal precedent applicable to rivers, and the ‘traditional navigable waters’ designation. Underlying our recommendations is the fundamental right of the public to access the River for recreational purposes, a right which should be no different than the public’s right to access any other navigable water of the United States as supported by a substantial body of law including provisions of the California Constitution.
Our overall recommendation for the long term is a policy of open public access and use of the entire Los Angeles River, compatible with essential safety considerations. In the near term, the policy should recognize current realities and focus on those sections of the River which are already used extensively: the Sepulveda Basin, the Glendale Narrows/Elysian Valley, and the River estuary at Long Beach. We urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County’s Flood Control District, and the City of Long Beach to adopt a clear, comprehensive, uniform set of policies for recreational access and use of these River sections.
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