A group of children walk the Los Angeles River to help clean up debris.
A group of children help clean up debris along the banks of the Los Angeles River.
Kids and adults listen to a volunteer explain the benefits of keeping the Los Angeles River clean.

Friends of the Los Angeles River

Long before our metropolis dominated the land, the Los Angeles River naturally meandered through the basin as a major life source for the Indigenous people (Tongva and Chumash) and wildlife who lived alongside it. Centuries later, Friends of the Los Angeles River formed with the hope that our river could echo the past. We endeavor to bring the people to the river, and the river to the people. This serves as both our rallying cry and our theory of change.

Our vision is an equitably accessible and ecologically sustainable Los Angeles River that is a source of climate resilience and resource and refuge for the communities who need it most. This vision is only possible if guided and carried by a movement of diverse advocates, enthusiasts, volunteers, and stewards who have a deep relationship with the Los Angeles River. To accomplish that, we focus on connecting communities to the river and facilitating ways for those communities to become civically engaged.

The journey to lifelong stewardship begins with education. Our K-12 programs focus primarily on Title 1 schools within the watershed and feature a river field trip, which is often a student’s first brush with nature. That experience with nature often gives way to inspiration and dedication. To scale that experience beyond field trips to the broader population, we co-authored California Senate Bill 1201—legislation that led to the establishment of two recreation zones on the river. These two areas are open for public access during the dry flow summer months for activities such as hiking, fishing, and kayaking. This kind of access elevated the river from a mere flood control channel to a place of refuge for all Angelenos. We continue to push for access to the river for all communities and for inclusive planning processes that prioritize river-adjacent communities, many of which are historically and consistently marginalized.

A healthy river is a healthy ecosystem, a healthy ecosystem is a healthy community, and a healthy community is hope for a healthy and resilient world, which is why we pour ourselves into advocating for the architecture of Mother Nature and a philosophy that prioritizes people and nature together.

To learn more, visit https://folar.org