Sometimes what makes it an adventure is not the risk of drowning or getting hurt. Sometimes adventure means risking arrest or harassment.
In the case of one set of kayakers and canoeists (canoes, how tough could it be), they paddled 51 miles in three days down a catch 22. Some government officials said the Los Angeles River was navigable. Others said it was incompatible with navigation. Whatever that means, the Army Corps of Engineers wouldn’t grant permits.
Most often, a paddling adventure in the Wild & Scenic Film Festival shows that a river CAN be run. “Rock the Boat” shows that a river MAY be run. In the only confrontation with the cops, the adventurers sidled along on a technicality/fib/oversight. After their journey, the Los Angeles River was officially declared navigable.
What’s the significance? Compliments of the wording in the Clean Water Act, only navigable rivers might receive environmental protection. With channelized (spelled “concrete”) rivers in just about every major urban area in the United States, that’s a flood of significance.
Watch the seekers in “Rock the Boat” test governmental waters with politeness. Watch playful, earnest people discover an unlikely experience of urban nature for now and tomorrow. Watch the citizens communicate that Los Angeles could save more than 50 percent of its water bill by restoring a watershed currently orchestrated solely to push runoff and storm water to the ocean as fast as possible.
Filming paddlers typically makes the phrase “go with the flow” an adrenalin boiler through exotic locations. Mixed into the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, “Rock the Boat” entices us with an as yet uncharted, homegrown journey to the future.