By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Want to see L.A.'s old attitude toward the river? The Weddington Parks, built in 1965, are on the riverfront and off Riverton Avenue, but have no river access.
Loss of its connection to the river befell Griffith Park, too. Colonel Griffith J. Griffith envisioned a scenic mountain park with five miles of riverfront, but in the 1950s the 5 and 134 freeways separated the two. Except in a few tiny pieces of park -- one is the big, shady Bette Davis Picnic Area-- that the Army Corps of Engineers stranded on the north bank when it straightened the river's meanders. Here, the park's S-shaped boundaries trace the river's former path.
Next stop on tour: The Glendale Narrows.
WALK THE RIVER
Sepulveda Basin: Wildlife refuge trails lead to the river. Enter at trailhead (at refuge parking lot, access road off Woodley Avenue); off Woodley; on Burbank Boulevard at or east of Woodley (park on Woodley or in small lot atop the dam just west of the 405). A dirt path tops Sepulveda Dam: Entries at Burbank/405 parking lot and wildlife refuge lot (scramble up the side). Burbank to Balboa Boulevard: Wide jogging path on south bank, dirt trail on north. Enter at either end (for Balboa, park in the riverside lot; for Burbank, on Woodley or in Burbank/405 lot).
Sherman Oaks/Studio City: The river is especially easy to find here. You don't have to climb fences, or even trespass -- dirt paths on both banks have long been used for jogging and dog walking, and are accessible at major cross streets and many points off Valleyheart Drive.
Bette Davis Picnic Area: A dirt path heads toward the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Enter at east end of park.
BIKE THE RIVER
Sepulveda Basin: The 8.5-mile perimeter loop crosses the naturalized river at Burbank and Balboa boulevards.
L.A. River Bikeway: The 0.5-mile L.A. River Greenway project through Studio City includes a bikeway. (ETA start 2001) The city plans to extend it into the Valley west to the headwaters -- but not until it builds the stretches (now in various stages of completion, construction and planning) through the Glendale Narrows and downtown. (ETA start 2007-2008)
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