DOWNEY -- As the Los Angeles River fluctuates between El Nino flood conditions and lingering drought, the LA River Trek will embark on Feb. 5 to follow the Los Angeles Watershed from the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach into the tributaries of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Traveling by bike and by foot, writer Tamara Lang, of Long Beach, and photographer Glenn Lewis, of Greeley, Colo., will document the river through a live blog, followed by a Rain Day Watershed Fair and Photography Exhibition to be held in Long Beach on Saturday, Feb. 27.
The Feb. 5 trek includes a stop in Downey midday, where the group will interact with the Downey community.
The LA River Trek seeks to solidify public awareness of the Los Angeles Watershed by framing the wider history and ecology of the Watershed within the narrative of ground travel. Interacting with the Los Angeles Watershed as a whole, the LA River Trek will document both human and ecological communities along the river in order to explore the realities of living in an urban watershed.
This project follows a series of proposed projects by the City of Los Angeles to revitalize the Los Angeles River by increasing public access and restoring the river to a more natural state, and is inspired by public education projects put forth by Friends of the LA River (FoLAR).
Tamara Lang first conceived of the idea of traveling up the Los Angeles River while working as an Aquarium of the Pacific volunteer in 2008, and veered towards the relationship between urban and natural environments after discovering green sea turtles in the outflow of a San Gabriel River power plant in 2012.
After returning in November 2015 from two years in South Korea, where she had befriended photographer Glenn Lewis, Lang was confronted by a California whose newfound fascination with water after years of drought paralleled a startling lack of knowledge about native watersheds.
Lang and Lewis founded the LA River Trek to alleviate this gap in public education by showcasing the Los Angeles Watershed as a traversable whole, an idea that will become reality when they begin up the Los Angeles River Bike Path this Feb. 5.
To follow the LA River Trek, or to receive more information about the Rain Day Watershed Fair and Photography Exhibition on February 27, visit tamaralang.com/larivertrek or follow @larivertrek on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.