UPDATE: There will also be the formal announcement of a Northeast LA Riverfront District Thursday at 9 a.m. in Marsh Park in the Elysian Valley. Patch will be there.
EARLIER: The public is being invited to comment on a plan to open a five-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River for public recreation during low-flood-risk summer months on Thursday, Jan. 24.
The program would begin on begin on May 27, 2013 and end on Labor Day, Sept. 2, 2013.
Perhaps most significantly, the plan would create a non-motorized boating course stretching from North Atwater Park to the Elysian Valley.
The course would run through a section of the natural-bottomed area known as the Glendale Narrows and be open from sunrise to sundown.
Access would be through pocket parks in Silver Lake's Frogtown and the Elysian Valley, as well as North Atwater Park.
Unlike the summer paddling programs held in 2011 and 2012 near the Sepulveda Dam on the river, this course would be "self-directed" and free, although guided trips are still a possibility.
Other recreational uses including fishing, birdwatching and hiking would also be allowed. Bikes and pets would be prohibited in the riverbed area.
Use would also be prohibited during flash-flood risk periods.
Rangers from the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority would patrol the area.
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The draft plan was released Tuesday by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks to the Los Angeles River Cooperation Committee for public comment and discussion.
(See that in the gallery above.)
Los Angeles River Cooperation Committee is a joint working group of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, the City of Los Angeles and the United States Army Corps of Engineers--four entities with ownership and management interests in the riverbed and surrounding area.
The program calls for a public comment period through Jan. 31, after which the Los Angeles City Council would take up the plan.
It also will require getting various forms of consent from the LADWP, the L.A. County Flood control agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that manages the area.
City Councilman Ed Reyes, who grew up in Cypress Park swimming in the river near the proposed district, told Echo Park-Silver Lake Patch the primary goal of the plan is to "create an environment where people can enjoy the river safely."
"How do we preserve the natural habitats and protect the wildlife, while allowing people to connect with the river?" Reyes said.
He said such public access is the next step in a larger goal: to turn the river into the city's "front yard" and open it up for investment and preservation.
The proposed "L.A.River Recreational Zone Pilot Program" brings to a head several concurrent efforts to establish legal and safe access to a section of the Los Angeles River that many feel is its most accessible and beautiful.
In August 2011, a city council committee chaired by Councilman Ed Reyes ordered city staff explore the possibility of expanding public access to the river beyond the guided tours.
In August of 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, which manages the riverbed for flood control purposes, to come up with a plan for creating recreational access to the area.
Another study due by the end of the year will offer options for restoring native habitat and removing some concrete along the full 11-miles of the Narrows.
Known as the Alternative with Restoration Benefits and Opportunities for Revitalization, or Arbor, it must balance the need for flood control that the current concretized L.A. River channel provides with desires for preservation and access.
The first public meeting for comment on the L.A. River Recreation Zone Plan will be held at the Los Angeles River Center in Cypress Park at 5 p.m. on January 24.
Comments can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the full report, attached. And see photos from a recent paddle down the Glendale Narrows in the attached gallery.