PHOTOS: Angelenos share their LA River stories

LA River

Peter Bennett/ lariverpix.com

Dusk settles over the Los Angeles River at the Glendale Narrows, Elysian Valley, Los Angeles, California, USA

LA River

Peter Bennett / lariverpix.com

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) on Los Angeles River, Glendale Narrows, Elysian Valley, Los Angeles, California, USA

LA River

Peter Bennett / lariverpix.com

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at the Glendale Narrows. Los Angeles River, Glendale Narrows, Los Angeles, California, USA

LA River

Peter Bennett / lariverpix.com

Los Angeles River with waterfowl, south of downtown Los Angeles. Bell, Los Angeles, California, USA

LA River Clean up

Peter Bennett / lariverpix.com

FoLAR's annual "La Gran Limpieza" clean up of the Los Angeles River. Bette Davis Picnic Area. Glendale Narrows. Los Angeles.

LA River

Peter Bennett / lariverpix.com

Kayakers stretched out along the LA River. On June 1, 2013, George Wolfe and LA River Expeditions leads a kayak tour down the Los Angeles River. On Memorial Day, the Los Angeles River Pilot Recreational Zone officially opened to the public for kayaking, walking, birdwatching, and fishing along a 2.5 mile stretch of the river in the Elysian Valley. Los Angeles, California

LA River

Michelle Lesse

"This past spring I was able to take my 13 year old daughter on an afternoon paddle on a short stretch of the L.A. River. I took her out of school for our kayaking adventure and I am sure that made it all the more enjoyable." —Michelle Lesse

LA River

Michelle Lesse

"We were able to have a simple and short afternoon adventure on water in the middle of L.A." —Michelle Lesse

LA River

Michelle Lesse

"Imagine if we were able to create park space in the middle of our most populated areas where you can sit and watch birds, sunlight on water and a river." —Michelle Lesse

LA River

Anthea Raymond

Advanced whitewater boaters from the LA Kayak Club take on the mighty LA River one hot summer Sunday in August near the Fletcher Bridge.

LA River

Matthew Gush

"I had been scouting for a upcoming shoot when I stumbled upon the 6th Street access channel. I was instantly intrigued, and even though I was alone, I decided to make the dark trek alone. That small journey into the River changed my relationship with the city forever. Here was a space unlike any other — a poignant statement of control over something so inherently wild. This stretch of land has been a focus of my photographic work for a very long time, and continues to shape the way that I look at the city on a macro level. However, the most poignant experiences I have had with the river have been with the people that live along its banks." —Matthew Gush

Anthea Raymond / facebook.com/LARiverExpeditions

This photo of the Cafecito Organico pop up at North Coolidge Street and the LA River bike path in Frogtown was submitted by Anthea Raymond, social media manager and river guide for LA River Expeditions. For more, visit facebook.com/LARiverExpeditions.

Anthea Raymond / facebook.com/LARiverExpeditions.

"Sure I spend a lot of time on the river as a guide and boater. But I also live in the neighborhood adjacent to the river. And we're still sorely lacking in basic services like a real grocery store or a restaurant. This pop up gives me hope that more permanent additions both next to the river and along Riverside Drive are possible without disrupting the unique flavor of the Elysian Valley neighborhood or the bike path and river park." —Anthea Raymond

LA River

Oscar Vazquez

"Love riding through the L.A. river. Being able to see a past still in tact. It's slowly losing its flavor through some decay. But that's the beauty of taking my bike through the river path and making my way into 6th street bridge. Everytime there is something new to capture. A new memory to fill your enjoyment of the la river." —Oscar Vazquez

LA River

Jackie Kain

"One extended memory: The entire 6 month process of working on the Piggyback Yard (PBy) with FoLAR and four fabulous architectural firms (Perkins+Will, Michael Maltzan, Mia Lehrer and Chee Salette). One little memory: Riding in a government car along the banks of the river splashing and dreaming of dechannelization." —Jackie Kain

LA River

David Wratchford

"The first carp I ever caught was on the river. After living here for 34 years, I couldn't believe that nature had literally reclaimed what concrete had tried to destroy." —Jim Burns

LA River

Jim Burns

A day of fishing at the LA River.

LA River

Jim Burns

Jim and Will Burns pose on front of the L.A. River.

LA River

Kimberly King

"I live in Silver Lake near the River and visit weekly. The zone near me (Atwater) is thriving and brings me such happiness and peace. When I bring friends along, they just can't believe it. Open kayaking on the River this summer was so joyful! So much good work is being done by FoLAR and others. Just keep up the good work! I wish more Angelenos were aware of this unexpected natural space." —Kimberly King

LA River

Courtesy of LA River Kayak Safari

"When my boyfriend came to me and said 'I bought tickets to go Kayaking on the LA river' I thought he was joking. He was not. I was born and raised in L.A. and had no idea there was a river. I knew we had riverbeds, which served as bike lanes, but I never thought that we had an actual river."—LaTisha Conto

LA River

Jamie Poster

The Sepulveda Dam is a project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, built in 1941 to withhold winter flood waters along the Los Angeles River. "I grew up in Encino and Hayvenhurst was my onramp getting on the 101 to go to school every morning. Because the Dam is right there, there is a clearing and it delivers the BEST views of the mountains." — Jamie Poster

LA River

Michael Harrigan

Michael Harrigan and his son Patrick enjoy a bike ride along the river. "Nice to see other young families finally enjoying it more as well. The kids love it," he said.


Fishing, bird watching, biking and kayaking — those are among the many memories our listeners shared with us when asked to talk about their favorite stories surrounding the L.A. River. 

We encouraged folks to submit responses via our Public Insight Network in the days leading up to  Found LA: Festival of Neighborhoods Sunday. The theme this year: “The River of Your Imagination." 

"Imagine if we were able to create park space in the middle of our most populated areas where you can sit and watch birds, sunlight on water and a river," wrote Michelle Lesse, who recently took her 13-year-old daughter, Catalina, on a kayak trip there. 

RELATED: Report recommends greening 11 miles of the Los Angeles River for recreation and wildlife (Photos)

Lesse and Catalina's trip down the river resulted in a "simple and short afternoon adventure." But listener LaTaisha Conto told a different story. First, she admits, she had no idea that there even was a river in Los Angeles — despite being a born-and-bred Angeleno. 

"When my boyfriend came to me and said 'I bought tickets to go kayaking on the LA river,' I thought he was joking. He was not," she wrote. 

The duo ended up in the water five times between the two of them — discovering that it's actually possible "to turn completely upside down in a kayak after going over a tiny rapid." Nevertheless, this city dweller concludes "kayaking is an excellent way to take in the view of the plant life that grows on the banks. (And though in my imagination there were Tigers and snakes in those trees, I am assured there were not)."

On Twitter, we received this video created by a group of 6th grade students, who made it their mission to document the 2008 river clean-up for a school science project. 

Local photographer Peter Bennett  shared a series of great photos from his recently launched blog, L.A. River Pix. His favorite parts of the river to photograph? "The soft-bottomed section along the Glendale Narrows and the downtown bridges."

"The thing that keeps bringing me back it is a 51-mile-long ever-changing landscape that always seems to be offering up some new face of itself," he wrote. 

As you can see, stories ranged from insightful to hilarious. View our slideshow above for a collection of photos, quotes and lovely memories.

Do you have a story to share? Answer our Public Insight Network questions, tweet us @KPCC, share on Facebook or in comments below. 

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