It was with not a little fanfare less than two years ago that the road around the reservoir known as Lake Hollywood was reopened to walkers, runners and cyclists, a scenic route that had been closed since landslides during those crazy rains of 2005.
Little did I know that when my wife Susan and I drove over there this morning and set out with our faithful — and needless to say well-behaved and leashed-up — border collie mix Ranger to explore that roughly 3.3-mile loop for the first time, we would be greeted by this sign at the north gate and again at the east gate:
Being that I’m law-abiding to a fault I dutifully turned us around and we made our way to the far more enlightened Parc du Griffith where dogs are not a crime. Soon we found our way along a loop that included a rigorously vertical set of dirt steps carved into the hillside and leading to the oasis that is Amir’s Garden.
While one part of me is all “Thank you!” to the dog-banning powers that be at Lake Hollywood for allowing us to discover a previously unknown aspect of Griffith Park, the other part is all “You dog-banning powers that be at Lake Hollywood totally suck!” And it was that latter half that got all googly once I got home in searching out the specific statute — LAMC 64.06 — authorizing the prohibition. Turns out it’s an ordinance designed to prevent water contamination that reads a little somethin’ like this (on the other side of the jump):
LAMC 64.06: No person shall swim, wade, fish, hunt, or deposit any animal, vegetable, mineral matter of substance in, or cause or permit any horse, mule or other animal to go into, or otherwise trespass in or upon any reservoir or aqueduct, or in any pipe or stream connected therewith, nor shall any person do any act or thing which will pollute, imperil or impair the purity and wholesomeness of any water intended to be used for household or domestic purposes.
Now that’s all well and good on the surface — water purity is unquestionably important. But context in the form of the reservoir’s layout is important to understand why this ban is unnecessary. The roughly 2.5-billion gallons of water the reservoir contains is not one whose edge I can readily approach and contaminate by tossing Ranger in. In many ways Hollywood Reservoir is like Silver Lake Reservoir in that it’s surrounded by a fence outside of which is a publicly accessible path. In other words there’s no way for me to “cause or permit” my dog to get her anywhere near the water unless I first breach the security fence with the intent to criminally trespass.
Essentially what I’m saying is move those signs away from the trailheads and put them on the reservoir’s perimeter fencing. Since it is entirely acceptable and available for any person to walk their leashed dog on the path outside the fence around Silver Lake’s Reservoir, I submit that same activity should be acceptable and available to any person wishing to do so around Lake Hollywood. But instead, it rather arbitrarily isn’t. And that’s aaaaaall wet.