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Lake Hollywood Reservoir trail reopens

August 6, 2009 5:43:25 AM PDT
What was once one of the most popular trails in Los Angeles is now open again following a four-year closure.Officials, including Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge and representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, formally reopened a portion of Lake Hollywood to the public Thursday morning.

It's a tranquil area with beautiful views, but landslides triggered by heavy rainfall forced officials to close most of the popular walkway around the Lake Hollywood Reservoir in 2005.

"Today is a great day because we get the east side of the Lake Hollywood Reservoir back," said LaBonge, who led the way as the east side of the path reopened to walkers, hikers and bikers who had been anxiously waiting to use the trail once again.

The eastern side of the lake, near Montlake and Tahoe Drives, is open but the western end will remain closed as more work needs to be done.

"We told the whole neighborhood. We were singing from the mountaintops, we could hardly wait," said Tree Lockie, who uses the path for walking. "This is a glorious day for this."

"There's hundreds of people that rely on this for exercise," added jogger George Bayz. "It's a gem of L.A. It's fabulous."

The Department of Water and Power says the landslides threatened the operations of the water system. The hillside below the 750,000 gallon Mulholland tank had shifted so the slope was repaired, and work was done to protect the stability of the tank.

"What we did is we set up a very big, very large retaining wall that's going to retain that in the future and it increases the stability of that slope out there," according to Steve Cole of the Department of Water and Power.

Right now, about a mile-and-a-half of the 3.2 mile loop around the Lake Hollywood Reservoir has been restored. But there's still a lot of work to be done on the west side.

Longtime Lake Hollywood resident Mary Lane is still working on shoring up her property, but she's thrilled to be able to go for a walk again.

"Prior to the slides in January of '05, I used to walk the three-and-a-third miles around every day, loving it," Lane said.

"It's like no other place. It's something special where you can relax, you can think, you can look at it. It's just beautiful," added Bill Wood, who was out walking around the reservoir shortly after its reopening.

The repair work on the west side of the reservoir should be completed by the spring of 2011.

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