Friday, July 24, 2009

Experience Whittier Narrows on Aug. 1

News Release

July 17, 2009

Press Contact: Alina Bokde, or 626.614.7293




“Experience Whittier Narrows,” to be held at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, is a terrific family opportunity to enjoy one of the most popular regional parks in Los Angeles County, and to see preliminary ideas from a year-long process to envision the park’s future.

Supervisor Gloria Molina, in whose district the park is located has championed the creation of more parks and green space for years.   “Whittier Narrows is the major gemstone in the Emerald Necklace, a chain of parks and greenways that are planned along the Río Hondo and San Gabriel River.  Extending and improving our green space can make a major difference in quality of life and health of our residents.”

Whittier Narrows Recreation Area is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Developed in 1952, its major function is flood protection, though USACE leases approximately 1,200 acres to Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation and the City of Pico Rivera for recreation.  The area also provides storage for groundwater replenishment, and its location along the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River offers significant habitat for many bird species.

“This unique area provides multiple benefits – from recreation to habitat – and its stewardship should be a priority within the region,” says Col. Thomas H. Magness, Commander of the USACE Los Angeles District.   To realize this goal, the USACE has partnered with Supervisor Molina’s office, the Los Angeles County Departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works, the city of Pico Rivera, the Water Replenishment District, the Watershed Conservation Authority, and the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, to gather public input for potential improvements.   South El Monte, Montebello, and Rosemead are important participants in the process.

The “Visioning Whittier Narrows” process was launched by the partners in 2008.  Its focus is on identifying “multi-benefit” improvements that make the Area more environmentally and economically sustainable, that reconnect surrounding communities to natural areas and recreation, and that improve habitat and water quality.  “The visioning process has helped to build stronger and more collaborative agency partnerships,” say Russ Guiney, Director of Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, and Gracie Gallegos, Mayor of Pico Rivera. “It is also an important way for us to participate in helping to create more “green space” in our planning area,” says Frank Colonna, Board Chair of the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.

 “Experience Whittier Narrows” event has been planned as an opportunity to explore the park, hear these ideas and gather feedback.  A kickoff event will be held at the Lakes Area, 751 South Santa Anita Avenue, South El Monte, at 11 a.m. featuring the following key speakers: Teresa Villegas, Office of Supervisor Gloria Molina & Chair of the Watershed Conservation Authority; Colonel Thomas H. Magness IV, US Army Corps of Engineers; Russ Guiney, Director, Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation; Mayor Gracie Gallegos, City of Pico Rivera; and Dan Arrighi, Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. Information booths and displays will be provided in the following locations. 

Lakes Area

751 South Santa Anita Avenue, South El Monte, CA  91733

$4.00 Vehicle Entrance Fee Applies -- FREE PARKING off Santa Anita Parking Lot


Athletic Area

1601 Rosemead Boulevard, South El Monte, CA  91733

$4.00 Vehicle Entrance Fee Applies


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