Saturday, May 26, 2012

North Atwater Park: Up Close and Personal with the Los Angeles River

Oh, it's been one of those blog lapses again.

Very well. Moving forward...

It was an ordinary Saturday...The Militant was dropping off some E-Waste at a local Los Angeles City S.A.F.E. disposal center when he ventured around the area out of his own militant curiosity. He found himself on Chevy Chase Drive in Atwater Village and the voices inside his head his militant instinct told him to venture forward, to the road's end. It was there where he saw it: North Atwater Park.

There was a small parking lot along with a bicycle parking rack, so he knew he was in the right place. Any beyond the lot was an open area with picnic tables, benches, a clay dirt path and various California native plants. But beyond that...

...The Militant found his personal El Dorado.

It was the Los Angeles River, flowing, running wild and pure. Yes, he had encountered The River before. But this time, there were no fences or railing to encumber him.

This is what nearby Griffith Park, just yards away, past The River and the the 5 Freeway, was meant to be like over 60 years ago. A peaceful parkland that welcomed one to the Los Angeles River, interrupted due to the aforementioned freeway. All but realized until recently.

On this day, there were several people painting along the banks of the river. No, not taggers or graff artists wielding spray paint cans, but people holding brushes, painting on canvases set up in locations to their liking (pictured left).

According to one of them, they were all enrolled in Barnsdall Art Park's 3-hour Plein Air painting class, where they were assigned this week to show up at North Atwater Park and paint their subjects along the riverside.

The Militant was in awe. He could hear the river water rush just inches away from him. He walked further south along The River's east bank, passing by some people chatting, one of them greeting The Militant, and an Australian Shepherd dog who seemed to take a liking to him. He saw ducks walking in the standing water along the concrete riverbed, watching them march hurriedly towards the water as The Militant approached.

It was the perfect scene that was marred only by the sound and occasional sight of cars whooshing by on the 5 Freeway on the other side of The River. If not for that, The Militant would probably never leave (which may or may not be problematic, as he couldn't blog again if he did).

Next to the native plants area was a large dry ravine, with native wildflowers, which ran diagonally towards The River (pictured right). It's gated off by temporary fencing, but there are stairs leading down to it, so it might be accessible in the future. The purpose of the ravine, according to an informational sign, was for a means to allow runoff water from the nearby water treatment plant to cleanse itself naturally by entering the local water aquifer. It seems that sustainable water runoff treatment is the in-thing these days.

This is Memorial Day weekend, and most of you have better things to do than to real local blogs (unless you're looking for something to do). If you're like The Militant and don't get leave town (or at least never publicly admit to doing so), he recommends spending a few hours chilling here by The River at North Atwater Park. It's free to visit, after all. Our river is a link to both our past and our future. A pedestrian/bicycle/equestrian bridge across The River here will begin construction next year.

Most of all, The Militant found his new Happy Place. You may or may not see The Militant here sometime. But if ever you do, please turn off your cameras/recording devices and raise ya fist!

Deux Ducks.
The Militant makes a new friend.
Save for these motorcycle remains, The River was amazingly clean and junk-free!
Rapids transit.

1 comment:

M. Bouffant said...

Looks (& sounds) nice. I keep intending to take a nice walk along the River Greenway Trail on the west bank, but I may head to North Atwater first.