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Did you know the Santa Ana River, right here in Orange County, is a living, lush and beautiful river? In many places, it looks as natural as it did back in the early Native American, pueblo and ranchero days of Orange County’s history.

In 2012, Coastkeeper led The Santa Ana River Kayak Connection. This program provided the public with a quality outdoor adventure experience that helped connect them with the Santa Ana River and its watershed.

The two-mile guided tours were held in Featherly Regional Park, between the Gypsum Canyon and Yorba Linda bridges. This was the first time in over 30 years the public was able to legally recreate in the Santa Ana River.

However, planning these tours was no easy feat. Coastkeeper required a permit exemption from the Orange County Board of Supervisors to legally perform recreational activities in the river. This program demonstrated that public access to the river can provide recreational and educational opportunities while protecting wildlife habitat as well.

The Santa Ana River is an untapped jewel for kayakers, swimmers and boaters right here in Orange County. Unlike what people tend to believe, the river is flowing with an abundance of natural reaches, and not just water in a concrete channel.

Interested in seeing more of this historic expedition? Watch the video.