Saturday, March 14, 2015

North Atwater Creek

This path by the L.A. River was a favorite dog-walking place for me since I got the late, great Petey in 2001. There were not so many places to access the river in those days, and  I discovered this one while looking at a horse.  The presence of horses was one of the reasons it was a favorite place.

 I'd been walking there regularly for 5 years  2006, when I read "The Lost Streams of Los Angeles" by Judith Lewis in the L.A. Weekly Nov. 8, 2006.  It described Jessica Hall making her way through a hole in a fence to see a littered and smelly algae covered pond.  This was North Atwater Creek before restoration.  I read the article, but couldn't figure out where it was.  I'd never seen anything remotely resembling a creek.  It was only after the restoration began that I remembered having been in the creek.  No water when I was there, just lots of fresh green grasses, the descendants of the cereal crops of L.A.'s agricultural past.  I  met another lady with a dog, and greeted her while both our dogs nibbled on the grass.  That's all I had known of North Atwater Creek--a weedy place behind a fence.

The City of Los Angeles Stormwater program described it as the remnant of a seasonal stream that was mostly paved over by development and channeled into pipes.  The project's goal was to filter urban run-off before it fed into the L.A. River.

Official groundbreaking took place October 2010 reported in L.A. Creek Freak and L.A. Stormwater.

I took my first pictures of it April  2011.

They cleared out all the invasive non-native  plants (weeds)  and left this native tree.

They installed a lot of lovely lavender pipes.

and a few black ones.

From N. Atwater Park, it just looked like a hole in the ground.

In November, I saw a landscape taking shape

 It officially opened  April 12, 2012,  according to L.A. Stormwater and L.A. Eastsider.

The path along the river had re-opened.

A big pipe was used as landscape architecture.

and there were signs explaining water filtration and other features of the park.

The creek bed was fenced off so the young native plants could establish themselves without being disturbed.

I waited a few years before I returned and tried to photograph what I had seen before.

There's no more room for anarchist graffiti.

The lonely tree has company, now.

and there are wildflowers.

and winding paths

  In June 2014, L.A. Curbed discussed the possibility of expanding the park.  The Recreation and Parks Department Central Service Yard is immediately north.  When I saw it there was leftover wood

and interesting discarded stuff-

I haven't heard anything of these ideas since then.  

Big yellow trucks wait beyond the parking lot.  I don't know about the utility yard, but there are plans for a bridge that will allow pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians

to cross the river and the unfortunately located Golden State Freeway into Griffith Park.


  1. Excellent posting! This looks like a great place and in another 10 years it will be even better. What a treasure.

    1. Thank you. I hope I'm around to photographed it again in 10 years.

  2. How cool! I'm happy to see things like that being restored. LA had a fair number of green spots when I was a kid, but nothing wild seeming like that, except up in Altadena. And I'm not sure I *ever* saw water running anywhere.

    1. The river has some water, but the so-called creek doesn't. Did you know the area in South L.A. was once all wetlands? There's a little bit left at the Gardena something-or-other Wetlands.