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L.A. River kayaking could expand to Glendale

July 25, 2012 |  8:45 am

By next summer, officials expect to approve a set of guidelines for kayaking along a stretch of the Los Angeles River that flows near the Los Angeles-Glendale border
By next summer, officials expect to approve a set of guidelines for kayaking along a stretch of the Los Angeles River that flows near the Los Angeles-Glendale border.

The guidelines would be welcomed by groups aiming to expand riverway expeditions, which have been growing in popularity.

After launching paid kayaking tours last summer near the Sepulveda Basin, the L.A. Conservation Corps and L.A. River Expeditions had hoped to bring their tours to a stretch called the Glendale Narrows this year.

That didn't happen, but L.A. Conservation Corps spokesman Mike Mena told the Glendale News-Press that the nonprofit still has its eyes on the soft-bottomed stretch of the river that runs from the Los Angeles Equestrian Center to 5 Freeway overpass.

"We certainly want people to experience the L.A. River in a different way than Hollywood portrays it," Mena said. "We want people to see the beautiful part, not the part that Arnold Schwarzenegger was blazing through in ['Terminator 2: Judgment Day.']"

The Glendale Narrows features egrets, ducks, lush greenery and views of the San Gabriel Mountains.

By fall, Glendale officials expect to see a bustle of activity along a $1.7-million riverwalk park project that's been in the making for nearly a decade.

"This is going to be really interesting to see the use patterns, to see who the patrons will be," said Glendale's project management administrator, Emil Tatevosian. 

The Glendale Narrows Riverwalk is anticipated to run from Bette Davis Park near the Los Angeles border to the Verdugo Wash, and in the future include a bridge over the river to Griffith Park.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved kayak tours along a 1.5-mile stretch of the river near the Sepulveda Basin, but the Glendale Narrows is governed by multiple agencies, including the Los Angeles County Flood Control District.

In May, Robert Colangelo, deputy chief of the Corps of Engineers' asset management division in Los Angeles, said in a letter that his agency does not object to non-motorized boating in the Glendale Narrows from Memorial Day to Labor Day since it won't conflict with flood-risk management work.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works considers kayaking a "beneficial use" of the Glendale Narrows, said agency spokesman Kerjon Lee.

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-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News

Photo: Antonio Bustamante, 40, of the L.A. Conservation Corps, leads kayakers on a inspection tour of the Los Angeles River on July 14. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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