White water rafting on the Los Angeles River? It doesn't seem true, but it is. A 2 ½ mile stretch of the river is being opened up the the public to allow for rafting, kayaking, and fishing along the stretch of river throughout Labor Day this September. This is just one step among many to revitalize the river as a community attraction, with the river itself looking better than ever, including local wildlife returning.
Steve Schleier has kayaked spectacular and scenic rivers from West Virginia to Alaska. So when the Los Angeles lawyer heard that his hometown river was opening to public navigation for the first time in decades, he was all in.
It didn't matter that the open section is a mere 21/2 miles long. It didn't matter that the riverbed is lined with concrete. And it didn't matter that the course features more warehouses than white water.
For Schleier, like many Angelenos, the opening of a modest stretch of the Los Angeles River on Monday was about redemption and possibility.
"Today," he said, preparing to put in at Rattlesnake Park, where Fletcher Drive crosses over the water, "is like getting your toe in the water for the revitalization of the river."