The Los Angeles River has been regarded as more of a punch line, than a real river for as long as anyone can remember. The span of 51 miles that runs through the second largest city in the Nation, is a concrete channel that has come to symbolize the very essence man’s destruction of the natural world. We do recognize it from movies like China Town, Grease, Terminator, among others. But it is just one more element that defines Los Angeles as a city of concrete, rushing cars, twisting freeways, and an astonishing lack of green space.
But the history of the river is remarkable. The origin story of Los Angeles is tied directly to the garden like setting along the river that lured the Spanish settlers to build their first Mission along it’s banks. What happened in 1938, as a result of a series of terrible floods is, astonishingly, a mystery to most residents. When asked about the LA River today, most long term residents have no idea that it even exists. They are not aware of how the Army Corps of Engineers were brought in by Congress, a generation ago, to fix one problem, but in in so doing, destroyed the natural habitat that existed there for centuries and created others that could not be imagined.
We are at a crucial moment in California, with droughts, and climate change, water has become a huge part of the dally discussion. As well, with a new ruling by congress that has earmarked 1.3 Billion dollars towards an expansive restoration project, the tide seems to have turned in favor of a newly conceived river.
Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) has devoted 30 years to changing the conversation, to making people aware of the importance of this conversation.
This documentary discusses the river no one knows about, with an incredible history, in a major American city, poised to make an enormous transformation.