An official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers once told Steven Appleton that there were no more frogs in Frogtown.
It was the kind of offhanded comment that made Appleton — as close as there is to a steward of Frogtown’s amphibians — wish for a cudgel to wake up feckless bureaucrats. Now, the Elysian Valley artist has obtained that cudgel.
With $15,000 from an anonymous donor, Appleton, who leads wading expeditions for frog-listening and rents kayaks for river tours, has purchased a piece of the Los Angeles River.
It’s about 4.5 acres that straddles the curve through Frogtown where the bottom of the concrete channel has broken up and nature has burst forth, allowing polliwogs to swim. It’s part of a $1.4 billion project by the Army Corps and city of Los Angeles to develop a 100-acre, river-themed park on the former rail switching yard north of the river.
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