Morning trips on the LA River now available

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David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images

File photo: The cement-confined Los Angeles River, right, slides past open industrial lots in the Los Angeles, CA community of Maywood, November, 2000.

If you're looking for a late-summer date with nature, you can now add the Los Angeles River to your list.

With a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps will offer tours this month and next. This follows a recent federal designation of the river as navigable.

For seven weekends, morning trips will be offered from the Sepulveda Recreation Basin down a mile-and-a half-long stretch of the Los Angeles River.

Local nonprofits and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority will lead talks about the river ecosystem and history. Before you can pick up a paddle for the river, you'll need to sign a waiver, pay $50 for equipment, and pay a fee for the ticket. With room for just 40 people a weekend, local environmental advocates say scoring a seat in a boat will be like scoring a golden ticket from Willy Wonka.

The pilot program could pave the way for more permits and river trips in future years.

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