Kayak Adventure on the Santa Ana River
Did you know the Santa Ana River, right here in Orange County, is a living, lush and beautiful river? It is not entirely a concrete flood channel as most people immediately think of when asked to describe the river. It is natural in many places, looking as it did back in the early Native American, pueblo and ranchero days of Orange County’s history. Remember, this river flows to the sea, we must consider our actions inland and upstream as it will affect our neighbors downstream.
The Santa Ana River Kayak Connection provided the public with a quality outdoor adventure experience that helps connect them with the Santa Ana River and its watershed. The Santa Ana River is an untapped jewel for kayakers right here in Orange County. Unlike what most people tend to believe, the area is a rich flowing river with an abundance of natural reaches, and not just water in a concrete channel. This is the first time in over 30 years the public was able to legally recreate in the Santa Ana River.
Coastkeeper’s Santa Ana River Kayak Connection provided a limited number of guided tours in the area of Featherly Regional Park, between the Gypsum Canyon and Yorba Linda bridges, approx. 2 miles.
After running the river, two of our participants said that they had, “the most AMAZING day,” and that “it was nice to see such beauty in our own backyard.” Enjoy these photos, taken by Dave, one of our volunteer river guides.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the request for a permit exemption, which is needed because an Orange County ordinance prohibits the public from boating, swimming or performing other water-related activities in rivers and channels owned by the Orange County Flood Control District.
This program demonstrated that public access to the river can provide recreational and educational opportunities to the public while protecting other uses, such as wildlife habitat. Over time, we expect that the public will be able to access the river in a less formal manner and this project will eventually become just one of many ways to enjoy and learn from the river. The project was managed by Orange County Coastkeeper as part of our mission to protect and preserve the region’s marine habitats and watersheds through education, advocacy, restoration, research and enforcement.
The pilot run of the Santa Ana River Connection was made possible by charitable grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing California.