The most promising effort underway in Los Angeles today is the transformation of the Los Angeles River into a continuous 51-mile recreational greenway. Stretching 51 miles from the confluence of Bell and Calabasas Creeks at the western end of the San Fernando Valley, to the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach, the river passes through thirteen cities and numerous jurisdictions. Working with these cities, community groups, public agencies, private corporations and nonprofit organizations, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority are creating a greenway composed of trails, parks, and natural lands. The Greenway provides new recreational opportunities for the heavily urbanized communities surrounding the river and enhances economic vitality.
Throughout history, the Los Angeles River has played an important role in the settlement of the great diversity of communities in the Los Angeles region. Today the river is surrounded by approximately 10 million people. Re-establishment of natural areas and parks along the river will promote economic vitality and much needed recreational opportunities in these heavily urbanized areas.
The vision for the Los Angeles River Greenway provides for flood control and the optimal enhancement of aesthetic, recreational, and environmental values by creating a community resource and enriching the quality of life for all residents.
Parks along the Greenway include:
Los Angeles River Center and GardensRiver Garden ParkMarsh Park The first "clean water park" developed along the River, Marsh Park was designed to naturally filter out the pollutants that once ran off adjacent neighborhood streets through storm drains into the river. A section of the City's concrete drainage pipe was removed from under the park. The ground was then lowered so that dirty water coming from the streets slowly soaks into the ground during a natural cleansing process known as infiltration. Trash and other pollutants are removed before the water enters the river. Storm water can also soak deep into the ground between sand, rocks, and clay and replenish the natural underground water storage system known as the aquifer.
Elysian Valley Gateway Park The first park along the Los Angeles River designed and built by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Elysian Valley Gateway Park opened in 1996. Providing access to the natural streambed portion of the river, the river’s diversity of bird life can be viewed by park users.
Great Heron Gates at Rattlesnake Park The Great Heron Gates, designed by sculptor Brett Goldstone, are an artistic interpretation of the wildlife of the Los Angeles River. Located at Fletcher Drive and the Los Angeles River in Rattlesnake Park, the gates welcome visitors to the greenway and its series of river parks.
Oso Park Oso Park provides a community enhancement along Riverside Drive. In addition to native plantings including leafy California sycamore trees, Oso Park features sculptures of wildlife that once roamed the river.
Steelhead Park Steelhead Park, with steelhead trout adorning the top of wrought iron fencing, interprets the Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail and provides a small outdoor amphitheater for education against the backdrop of the river.
Egret Park Egret Park provides a small but significant community enhancement along the Los Angeles River. The park features native plantings, a viewpoint, and interpretive displays on the Los Angeles River Greenway including wildlife still able to be viewed on the river.