Most people on the east coast of the United States will have a certain perception of a river: wide, flowing, natural, the constant noise of the water flow, the birds chirping, other animals making sounds, those kinds of things. Even on the west coast, there are still rivers such as the Colorado River, and others that fit this description, which just comes to show that there are high standards for a river in the United States. But there is one river which has been forgotten and mostly just covered up from the public outside of the city that it lives in. This is the forgotten river: the Los Angeles River.
I had been passing by the Los Angeles a River every single weekday when I went to CalState LA for my trial semester for qualifying for a program that will get me to college early. But I never noticed that I passed by the river every single time until the last two weeks. It was concrete. Like a drain. Our humanities and ecology class talked about the Los Angeles River and how it had been forgotten and how unnatural it was. It honestly just didn’t look like a river. It just looked dull. Turns out, it had been that way for around 70 years, and before it had been even worse. Before the Army Corps of Engineers decided to turn a natural river into concrete, it was disrespected. The river was polluted beyond means. The river wasn’t even used as the main water source at that point.
But why was it so disrespected and polluted by the people back in the 20th century and late 19th century? It was because it was not respected by the Americans who came to settle in the Los Angeles area. Before the Americans came to settle, both the natives and the Spanish (later would be Mexicans) respected the river and used it as a water source. The Americans, focused on their Manifest Destiny, decided to go to war with the Mexicans, and were able to win, and they received their land in the west coast and Texas. The Americans, having such high expectations for rivers, were, quite literally, disappointed when they realized the river was more like a stream. They envisioned rivers like the Ohio or the Hudson, and the Mississippi. Instead, they were treated to this stream, and so they polluted the water, due to their lack of empathy for the river. The river was so polluted, that when the Army Corps of Engineers came along, the river was to be only used as a flood drainage system.
The Los Angeles River is forgotten by many people from the east coast and even in California. But the river was a key part in attracting settlers to settle along the river. And now, as awareness of nature seems to grow day by day, the river is more likely to be revitalized to its former state. The river may be forgotten now, but there may be a resurgence coming soon.