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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Discover the Headwaters of the Los Angeles River

Do you know the L.A. River? Really?

Discover the River walkway from the Headwaters to DeSoto Ave.


They say the river begins where Bell Creek and the Calabasas Arroyo combine. Since the 1940s that location has been fixed just north of the intersection of Owensmouth and Vanowen in Canoga Park. (Just a skip away from the Topanga Mall.)

The sculpted 'V' of the waters coming together forms a jut of land that is topped with the Canoga Park High School sports field. From Owensmouth east, a foot path has been added along the River. Native plants provide habitat for butterflies and birds, while thin riffles of water flow over narrow sandbars on a cement stream bed. 

It's quite beautiful really: the lines of the bridges, sweeping fins of concrete, heron-themed gateways.  

During a walk from Owensmouth to DeSoto and back, I saw a variety of bird species, including yellow-rumped warblers, a pair of white-crowned sparrows, and a black phoebe. 

small group of migrating least sandpipers
 Least sandpipers (Calidris minutilla) were stopping to feed on watery insects. While, American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) played 'catch the stone' mid-air over the water.

There were views of the Santa Susana and Santa Monica Mountains, where the water originates.

Benches built along the pathway offer respite for a thoughtful moment. Trash cans and dog waste stations are plentiful. Walk the north side of the River and the path will take you under Canoga Ave.

I'm excited to embrace the L.A. River as a place to visit, but this ideal is fragile. Neglect and trash can quickly mar the opportunity. Let's take ownership of our river. Use the plentiful trash cans and dog stations. We have a chance to recreate something soulful and living. Let's not allow apathy and ignorance to destroy this chance for a Walk by the River.

Discover more walks with wildlife around Los Angeles
Hidden Gardens of L.A.

Other Rivers and Streams:
Hike Limekiln Canyon Park, CA (Pacific tree frog, western fence lizard) 
Malibu Creek - Feel the Cool in Malibu Creek State Park, CA 
Arroyo Seco - Angeles National Forest
Discover Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA  
The Voices of a River - (Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains, Nevada)
Floating the Outlet Stream - Squanga Lake, Yukon, Canada (arctic grayling)
Take a Cruise on the Yellow Water, Kakadu, Australia (birds & saltwater crocodile)


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