Boating down the L.A. River has been a rite of passage for journalists and urban adventurers, mainly because it's such a trash-strewn concrete jungle that it presents an ironic challenge.
Traversing the waterway was almost a dare: We dare you to make it down the river without being shot, tagged or beached for lack of water.
But things change, and conservationists have done wonders for what is, in fact, a real river. LA River Expeditions announced over the weekend ...
... that it will operate the first permitted, fully fledged boating tours of the river ever (almost).
The Expedition folks took 300 people on the water last summer, but that was part of a pilot program.
This time around they expect 2,000 participants from July through September, and it's no longer a test run, according to a statement.
The group's founder and president, George Wolfe, told the Weekly they don't have an exact start date yet but that they should be rolling on the river by "mid-to-late July," which is to say next week or so.
The expeditions will rock through the Sepulveda Basin in the San Fernando Valley. (Sorry, no views of the awesome graffiti along the downtown-adjacent stretch. This is way more picturesque.)
The OK for the trips was given by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which runs the river.
LA River Expeditions is partnering with the Joaquin River Stewardship Program to run this show for 7-days a week for 9 weeks, according to the group.
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There's a real thirst in LA to connect to nature. And there's a genuine curiosity about this forgotten local treasure. The more people we get to fall in love with the LA River, the stronger the impetus to fulfill on the promise of revitalization. The goal is to put this embattled waterway back at the center of our identity (but in a good way) and have it be a normal part of our community's life.
The cost, which hasn't been set yet, will be somewhere north of $50 per person, Wolfe told us. You can register here: http://www.lariverexpeditions.com/page_expeditions.php.