Month: May 2013

FOLAR volunteers take out the trash

About 100 volunteers at Steelhead Park today helped clean up the Los Angeles River as part of the Friends of the L.A River's annual event. The goal was to fill up a nearby 40-yard industrial trash bin with all manner of garbage from the river, while not disturbing any wildlife that make the waters their home. FOLAR volunteers could be seen at numerous sites along the river's 51-mile stretch.

As you can see from the photo, that trash included an old tire, as well as bags of plastic refuse.

Brian Talbot and his two young children, Marley and Miles, of South Pasadena, even found a keepsake metate-style pestle for grinding herbs and spices, while they plucked throwaways from the river's green space.

Last week, the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority filled up two 40-yarders in preparation for the recreational pilot program that begins Memorial Day. The MCRA is charged with administering the program that will continue until Labor Day.


See you on the river, Jim Burns


Get your paddle ready — pilot program begins Memorial Day

In the immortal words of  “Family Guy’s” Peter Griffin, “Alright, diggity diggity diggity.”

After lots of public input, wrangling over dogs (don’t bring them …) and some bureaucratic close shaves, the Los Angeles Recreational Pilot Program is on for the summer.

Signs such as this one will inform visitors to the two-and-a-half mile stretch of water (Courtesy MCRA)
Signs such as this one will inform visitors to the two-and-a-half mile stretch of water (Courtesy MCRA)

From its new  website:

“For the first time since the Los Angeles River was channelized in the 1930s, the public will be welcomed to walk, fish and kayak on a 2.5 mile portion of the L.A. River in Elysian Valley. The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), in cooperation with the City and County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, and the Army Corps of Engineers, will administer the historic Los Angeles River Recreation pilot program to increase safe public access to the L.A. River and to promote the goal of river revitalization.  The recreation zone includes the river channel and five feet of adjacent riverbank—but not the upper banks or the existing bike path, or the maintenance road on the banks above the river channel.

“The program runs from Memorial Day (May 27) to Labor Day (Sept. 2) and from sunrise to sunset daily, during safe conditions.  During this time, any member of the public can access the Recreation Zone free of charge. Organized groups and fee-based groups must obtain special use permits from the MRCA for which there is a fee.  Boat access to the Recreation Zone is located at MRCA-managed Rattlesnake Park at Fletcher Drive.  The exit point will be downstream adjacent to MRCA-managed Steelhead Park on Oros Street.  MRCA Rangers will regulate usage and promote public safety in the Recreation Zone with rules established by the MRCA ordinance.  The Recreation Zone also permits activities such as walking, bird watching, and fishing (with a California Department of Fish and Wildlife permit).  No dogs are allowed in the Recreation Zone. Foot traffic is strictly limited to paved and rocky surfaces in order to protect protected bird habitat.”

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Quick Mends: Los Angeles River ‘Wired’

AHOY, MATEY: Councilmembers Tony Cardenas, front, with Ed Reyes, far rear, enjoyed a day on the river last summer. (Jim Burns)
AHOY, MATEY: Councilmembers Tony Cardenas, front, with Ed Reyes, far rear, enjoyed a day on the river last summer. (Jim Burns)

“Any press is good press,” so the adage goes, and a new post about the L.A. River from Wired Mag’s bloggerie certainly confirms it. And it’s good to see activist kayaker George Wolfe and the film about his historic river run, Rock the Boat, get a nod.

But the piece skates over the most recent volatile event, which is the pilot river project, slated to begin Memorial Day. This project would allow citizen  kayaking on a portion of the river, as well as other recreational uses, including fishing, below the Glendale Narrows.  Last I heard objections from the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife may scuttle the project late in the game,which was approved by the Los Angeles City Council in March. A meeting is planned with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s Division of Natural Resources and Planning to find a resolution. The MRCA is slated to oversee the project, which would last until Labor Day. Developing.

See you on the river, Jim Burns


Carp fishing in Germany

Europe is one of the best continents to be in when it comes to vacations. Backpacking and taking in the sights on a bus or train is one of the best life experiences you’ll never forget. Among the best places in Europe is Germany. Apart from its scenic views, castles rich with history and the amazing food, it’s also the best places in the world to catch carp. While your wife may frown at the thought of you fishing while you’re in your second honeymoon, the best places to fish in Germany are also some of the most unique and picturesque locations you will ever see. Picture 1

If this is your first time fishing in Germany, it would be best to hire a guide. Not that we don’t trust your fishing instincts or expertise, it’s just that locations here have peak and off peak seasons for fishing. On top of this, Germany has a strict and stringent fishing policy. You will need a temporary license to start fishing and if you’re going to fish in private property, you will need to pay the owner some royalties as well. Before this discourages you, let me assure you that if you hire a guide, all of these problems will go away. For a modest fee, your papers, the fishing location and all the gear you will need to fish that elusive German carp will be taken care of. You can check the internet for fishing guides like ProNature to help you with your fishing experience. The good thing about these guides is that they can also arrange your accommodations in some of the best B&B inns in the country.

While Germany isn’t exactly Vegas where you can go Casino hopping, some of the best casinos in the world are here. Casino Baden-Baden} is an example of the casino hotels you can stay in so you can get your daily dose of poker action. If you are travelling with kids, you can also play online at sites like partypoker DE on your smartphone or web browser. Since poker sites like these are abundant online, you can just go for cheaper accommodations next to a lake and let the whole family fish with you. While most fishermen believe that gadgets spook the fish, I find that it’s helpful when you’re waiting it out. Fishing while playing poker makes one hell of a vacation if you ask me.

Once you hire a guide, don’t forget to learn the tricks of the trade so you can go at it alone the next time you’re in Germany. Since fishing is regulated here, there is an abundance of catch and the sizes are relatively bigger than their U.S. counterparts. If there was ever a time for you to start your loved ones on fishing, this would be the place to do it.