Month: June 2019

Sixth annual River Day highlights a river on fire

The Los Angeles River continues to be scalding hot, and that’s not just the summertime temps of the water. Two big river events in two days this week, the official groundbreaking for the Taylor Yard Pedestrian Bridge, followed by the sixth annual River Day at City Hall.

The city has worked on being “riverly” since — 1988 — according to former Councilmember Tom LaBonge who retired in 2015. It’s been a long road with our community still waiting for promised federal dollars to the tune of $2.6 billion to restore the river’s habitat.

Let’s count down what’s happened since the last River Day. The slogan could be “connect, don’t neglect” as underserved communities regain the connections lost to the construction of a concrete flood control channel:

Taylor Yard Pedestrian Bridge
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI, center, and friends broke ground on the Taylor Yard Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge, which will connect Elysian Valley to Cypress Park. Once complete in early 2021, the $20 million bridge will be roughly 400 feet long with an 18-foot-wide passageway for cyclists and pedestrians. (Credit Jim Burns)

— Four new and-and-bike friendly bridges to connect communities: Taylor Yard Pedestrian Bridge, North Atwater Village, Red Car Pedestrian Bridge and Verdugo Wash Bridge that will connect Glendale to L.A.

— Friends of the Los Angeles River’s celebrates the 30th annual LA River Clean-up and begins #CrackTheConcrete fundraising campaign. It’s a classic FoLAR campaign that is pro Taylor Yards/G2 River Park and its long-promised habitat restoration and con Casitas Lofts, a 420-unit housing development.

— Opening of Albion Riverside Park in Lincoln Heights.

— $18 million in state funding for a continuous bike path along the river. Remember, this is a 51-mile waterway.

— Last week the Environmental Protection Agency awarded $500,000 to help clean up the polluted soil of Taylor Yard/G2.

— Councilmember David Ryu takes on chairmanship of river committee from Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.

“Some day the LA River steelhead will come back,” Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said at the river celebration, echoing what FoLAR co-founder Lewis MacAdams said for many years to anyone who would listen.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

A request from the children of Lewis MacAdams

Visionary poet Lewis MacAdams pictured by his beloved Los Angeles River.

Update: As of June 10, Thank you for your extraordinary generosity and kindness toward our Dad. Because of your support, we have raised more than $40,000 for his care, from close to 150 people.

Many of you know our dad from his work as an activist for the L.A. River and as a poet.  You may have seen him striding across the bank of the river at a clean-up, his eyes on a future he helped to realize; invoking frogs and blue herons in poems that also honored the hard-edged beauty of the city he loves; or writing op-eds and fundraising letters that combined humor with a stubborn insistence that the impossible is possible.

We are writing to ask your financial support at a critical moment in Dad’s life.
  He is currently living in assisted living facility in Los Angeles, as a result of his Parkinson’s and a stroke he suffered in 2015.   Despite these challenges, he is moving ahead with the same stubborn will that helped revitalize the River: he still welcomes regular visits with friends and colleagues and is meeting weekly with journalist Julia Ingalls, who is helping him write an autobiography, entitled Poetry and Politics.

That said, the cost of care is significant and we are seeking to raise $200,000 to support his long-term living expenses and all the medical costs related to it.  These costs are not covered by Medicare and his funds are nearly depleted. The need is urgent.

We are hoping you can help Lewis in his time of need.

Here is the link to the GoFundMe site.

https://www.gofundme.com/a-request-from-the-children-of-lewis-macadams

Thank you again for your help.

Sincerely, Natalia, Ocean, Torii, and Will MacAdams 

Calendar Item: Pasadena Orvis hosts Father’s Day carp clinic

CARP CLINIC WITH LINO JUBILADO
SUNDAY, June 9, 2 p.m.
Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 5.20.08 PMWe’re at it again with the CA Chapter Backcountry Hunters & Anglers to bring the greater Los Angles area an opportunity to learn from from one of our local gurus Lino Jubilado! Join us in the store at 2PM Sunday June 9th during our Father’s Day VIP Event as Lino runs us through fly fishing and tenkara tactics for carp on the LA River. Food and refreshments on us. All are welcome. We hope you can make it down! Click to RSVP. 

Trout Unlimited’s Bowtie workshops impact urban fishing

First-timer Michael, left, gets a lesson in the art of the improved clinch knot from TU volunteer Tom Blankenship, while attendee Erica looks on. (Jim Burns)

Over the last couple of weekends, the stalwarts of Trout Unlimited South Coast Chapter put on a series of beginning workshops at the Bowtie parcel, a 17-acre site near Fletcher Bridge that is as urban as it gets. In 2003, California State Parks purchased the narrow strip of land adjacent the Los Angeles River, once part of Southern Pacific Railroad’s maintenance and operations facilities called Taylor Yards. If nothing else, it’s a chance to squint your eyes and see what it could become.

And Los Angelinos certainly have embraced this urban outlier in any number of positive ways, including the LA River Campout that is so popular, the 75 campers are chosen through a lottery. This chance to cuddle up in a sleeping bag and see the stars is an initiative of California State Parks in partnership with Clockshop, the National Park Service and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

As for fishing, TU led the way last year with “Vamos a Pescar,” during which some 120 urbanites learned to fish.

This year’s stats showed 110 attendees over the two May weekends, with a third under 18, and pretty evenly split overall between female and male.

After two Saturdays filled with the joy of passing our sport along to others — and the chance to practice patience while unspooling line from inside a reel (how does that happen?), I thought of these words from “A Place in Between”:

What is a park? Is it a place to escape the surrounding city? A place to breathe and contemplate? Or is it a gather place? A place to celebrate, laugh, play and compete? Perhaps it is a place to learn and grow? A place where our shared cultural and natural histories are celebrated? Is it a place of beauty? A place of pride designed by our finest architects? Or a place apart, left alone for nature to run its course?”

THE PREZ SEZ: Chapter President Ban Luu makes a point to the crowd about river ecology. (Jim Burns)

As you squint your eyes at the Bowtie, what is magically becomes what could be. Our collective imagination will be our compass, our guide, our pole star for the future.

See you on the river, Jim Burns