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MRCA Opens Los Angeles River Recreation Zone with Kayaking on May 31, 2021

May 24, 2021


DAN HALDEN/O’FARRELL – (213) 254-7214

HEATHER JOHNSON/LASAN – (213) 798-8714

DASH STOLARZ/MRCA – (323) 221-9944 ×198



New Safety Protocols in Place 


LOS ANGELES, CA (May 24, 2021) – Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell announced that, beginning Memorial Day, the Los Angeles River will once again be open for kayaking, fishing, and increased public access. After last year’s recreation season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new safety protocols will be in place to ensure the health of all participants.


From Memorial Day, May 31, through September 30, 2021, two designated recreation zones, Elysian Valley and the Sepulveda Basin, will be open on a daily basis from sunrise to sunset. The zones provide safe, equitable public access and recreational opportunities that help make the River one of the most unique open spaces in Los Angeles. In years past, thousands of Angelenos have used the zones to kayak, fish, bird watch, and take a stroll on a River-adjacent path. Free access to the recreation zones is provided by the City of Los Angeles.


“At long last, more people can learn about and enjoy our beloved Los Angeles River once more,” said Councilmember O’Farrell, who represents Elysian Valley and chairs the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, & River Committee on the City Council. “I know many of my constituents have been looking forward to this opportunity. Count me among you! I encourage all Angelenos to take part in this one-of-a-kind recreational experience.”


“The Sepulveda Basin and Los Angeles River offer a much needed opportunity for Angelenos and our Valley families to relax and have fun outdoors,” said Council President Nury Martinez, who represents the Sepulveda Basin. “I look forward to welcoming people back to this incredible natural amenity.”


Both recreation zones are managed and patrolled by rangers from the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority (MRCA). To ensure a safe experience, visitors are advised to follow the health and safety protocols posted on signs and in informational material at all public access points. Maps of the access points, and more information, can be found at http://lariverrecreation.org.


Visitors are also advised to check water conditions before taking part in one of the recreation zones. This year, solar-powered water quality beacons installed by LA Sanitation & Environment (LASAN) will visually indicate the water quality conditions at the kayaking input sites. The beacons function as follows: green for “safe;” yellow for “safe, but take precautions;” and solid red for “do not kayak.” A blinking red light indicates that the recreation zone is closed for a reason other than water quality. Information about the River’s water quality, which is tested regularly by LASAN, is available at https://lacitysan.org/waterquality. Swimming is prohibited at all times.


“The Los Angeles River is a key waterway in the City of Los Angeles, crucial to a healthy environment, biodiversity and our own sense of place and pride,” said Traci Minamide, LA Sanitation and Environment Chief Operating Officer. “LASAN strives to help ensure that all Angelenos are able to safely access and enjoy the River during these recreational months.”


Under the oversight of the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority (MRCA), a limited number of private kayak vendors will also offer visitors guided tours and kayak rentals for River recreation. As the Los Angeles River continues to evolve into a popular destination and gathering spot, all visitors are encouraged to do their part to keep it clean, so it can continue to  be enjoyed as a cherished natural resource and recreational asset of the City of Los Angeles.


A Public Service Announcement, produced by Councilmember O’Farrell’s office in partnership with MRCA, is available on the MRCA’s YouTube page at bit.ly/lariverpsa.