Southern California environment news and trends

Row on: Paddling season for the LA River begins this week

After a successful launch in 2011, popular Paddle the LA River program returns this year with a substantially expanded schedule of guided kayak and canoe tours along a scenic stretch of the river in the San Fernando Valley.

A partnership between environmental groups including the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, last year’s inaugural Paddle The LA River sold out all 260 tours in a mere ten minutes. Tickets for this year’s tours are priced at $53.74 (which includes a handling fee of $3.74) and go on sale tomorrow morning (Tuesday, July 17) at 7 a.m.

While the number of tours has been bumped up to over 2000 this year, ticket sales are expected to be brisk, so aspiring paddlers would be wise to score tickets sooner than later. The first public outings are scheduled to begin this Saturday, July 21. The season runs through September 29.


Reach the beach: 2012 LA River CleanUp wants you

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AP Photo/Ric Francis

This Saturday, April 28, marks the 23rd Annual La Gran Limpieza: The Great Los Angeles River Cleanup. Organized by nonprofit Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), it’s estimated that a good 4,000 volunteers spread out over 15 sites along the river from Long Beach to the Sepulveda Basin will pull more than 25 tons of garbage during the action.

Like last year, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa will be participating in the effort as part of the “We Serve LA” call to action alongside a host of elected officials, students, families and more in the day-long clean-up effort that will happen from 9 a.m. until noon.

Among the benefits of participating in the cleanup is being able to access areas usually off-limits to the public, including soft-bottom sections not paved over with concrete and populated by wildlife.