Places to Visit: Long Beach Earth Day River Gate

June 29, 2011 § 3 Comments

Earth Day 2007 Los Angeles River Gate in Long Beach

If you’re heading down to tonight’s Willow Gulch tour, you might see this gate as you exit the L.A. River Bike Path, aka the Lario Trail, near Wardlow Road in Long Beach.

There are quite a few great artistic gates along Southern California Waterways. Today’s post features an L.A. River gate that I think is the furthest downstream. It’s located in Long Beach, just west of the intersection of 34th Street and De Forest Avenue, less than a mile walk due west of the Wardlow Metro Blue Line Station. The gate is at the north/upstream end of the Wrigley Greenbelt, a medium-sized linear river park that runs along the river from Willow Road to Wardlow Road.

The gate was dedicated on May 3rd 2007 at the Los Angeles County Public Works’ Earth Day event. The event was presided over by County Supervisor Don Knabe and then Long Beach City Councilmember Tonia Reyes Uranga, and included native tree and shrub planting by Jordan High School Students. The native plantings have established themselves well. At a recent (April 2011) visit to the site, native California sunflower and other shrubs were in full bloom.

Wrigley Greenway natives in bloom

I searched for and didn’t quite find a proper official title for the gate. It was created by sculptor Michael Amescua, who also did the Guardians of the River gate (on the river at Los Feliz Boulevard), bear and deer sculptures at Oso Park (at Oros and Riverside Drive in Elysian Valley) and lots of other public art metal work around Southern California.

The gate features images of river flora and fauna. Can I include in the “fauna” human kids? They’re a species that certainly inhabits river corridors throughout the world.

Youth wearing Earth Day 07 T-shirt in Michael Amescua's river gate

It also has a lot of images specific to Long Beach, including ocean inhabitants: a sea horse, a dolphin, a whale, and even the Queen Mary.

Typical Long Beach river fauna depicted in Michael Amescua's gate

The site is well-utilized by pedestrians, many walking dogs.

River access in use at Michael Amescua's Long Beach river gate

Behind the gate is a ramp:

Ramp up to the river levee-top trail

The ramp leads to the Lario Trail bike path. Lario extends downstream to the Pacific Ocean, and extends upstream along the river to its confluence with the Rio Hondo. It extends along the Rio Hondo all the way through the Whittier Narrows to Peck Road Park in Arcadia.

The Lario Trail bike path in Long Beach, looking upstream with the 1951 Wardlow Road Bridge in the distance

To visit other great local artistic river gates, see also these Creek Freak articles:

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