Reporters, urban explorers and environmentalists have been canoeing down the Los Angeles River since at least 1958, often as a jaw-dropping stunt to draw attention to the contrast between concrete jungle and undeterred nature along the waterway.

Now the river has been declared a “traditional navigable waterway” by the federal government, a designation that gives it Clean Water Act protections, according to KPCC (89.3 FM). Traditional?

“It was a place where youth went to recreate, to explore, and even to fish,” said county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “However, over the years, the impact of urbanization has had a profound toll on the creek, its native habitat and its ability to promote public safety.”

He was speaking of the stretch of river known as “Compton Creek” behind the Crystal Casino and Hotel. The supervisor's office announced this week that, along with the “navigable” designation, a portion of the soft-bottom section of the creek has been purchased for public revitalization and protection.

Happy boating.

LA Weekly