Los Angeles city Councilman Ed Reyes is proposing to decriminalize non-motorized boating in the Los Angeles River. A motion to direct city officials to work with county and federal authorities to study the issue was introduced to the full council Tuesday.
The move follows last month's announcement by federal officials that the river is now a “navigable waterway” and thus worthy of U.S. Clean Water Act protections.
Boating, motorized or otherwise, along with fishing, is prohibited in the river.
“This motion brings people closer to experiencing the L.A. River–a living, breathing ecosystem of water, plant and animals–through kayaking and other non-motorized boating activities,” stated Reyes. “The motion further brings communities together and creates access to the River for locals, especially those who travel long distances just to recreate in water.”
The motion directs city staffers to work with county officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish whether allowing non-motorized boating is a good idea. It's not clear to us who would have to lift the ban on such watercraft — the city, county or federal government.
Since at least 1958 people have boated down the river almost as a stunt to prove that it's somewhat navigable. Even LA Weekly did it, in 2008.