Emerald Necklace Forest to Ocean Expanded Vision Plan

Over the past 14 years Amigos de los Rios as part of our mission, has been working as a liaison between the community and public agencies to facilitate the collaborative effort known as the Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision Plan

In 2005, Amigos de los Rios introduced the initial Emerald Necklace Vision Plan that outlined a detailed strategy for the development of a 17 mile loop of beautiful multi-benefit parks and green-ways connecting 10 cities and nearly 500,000 residents along the Río Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers watershed areas located in East Los Angeles County.

The plan’s parks and green-ways provide desperately needed recreational areas for communities suffering from extreme density, urban decay and the social and health issues they bring.

In 2008, the vision was expanded ….

Implementing the Emerald Necklace is a critical step for the San Gabriel Valley and Gateway Cities and is now supported by the Emerald Necklace Coalition, comprised of 62 member agencies in and around East Los Angeles area. All have signed the Emerald Necklace Accord, a legal document that pledges its signatories to work collaboratively to preserve and restore the Los Angeles and San Gabriel watersheds and their rivers and tributaries for recreational open space, native habitat restoration, conservation and education.

When complete the Emerald Necklace Regional Park Network will unify a vast region of Southern California from the desert through the San Gabriel Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, by linking more than 1,500 acres of parks and open spaces along an interconnected green-way around Rio Hondo, San Gabriel and the lower Los Angeles Rivers. Expanded Emerald Necklace Vision Plan Map

• Serving 62 cities in the San Gabriel and Gateway Cities region
• 7,500 plus acres of land
• 68 miles of multi-benefit river trails
• 50 miles of wash and creek trails
• Approximately 447 existing parks
• Approximately 60 potential parks
• 20,000 trees (estimated)

The Emerald Necklace Regional Park Network in Southern California has the potential to become a world-class park network on the scale of Central Park in New York and will be a significant piece of the vision for an urban Los Angeles connected by river green-ways.

AMIGOS Expanded Emerald Necklace Vision Plan was inspired by a portable “Emerald Necklace” park design by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. and the 1929 Olmsted Bartholomew Plan.

Why the “Emerald Necklace?”

Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. was a pioneer in the field of landscape architecture and is best known for designing New York’s Central Park. Olmsted held that everyone had the right to common green space and he embodied this belief in his park designs. His favorite theme created a network of parks connected by boulevards or parkways to form a ring or “Emerald Necklace.”   Our vision for a system of parks alongside the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers is also linked by trails and parkways and truly resembles a necklace inspired the title of Emerald Necklace Vision Plan.

Olmsted’s park design can be seen in cities around the United States: Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Washington D.C. and many others.

A brief history…

The Emerald Necklace Vision Plan was inspired by the 1929 Olmsted Bartholomew Plan, designed for the Los Angeles area by the Olmsted Brothers – John Charles and Frederick Law Jr., sons of Frederick Law Olmsted.

Like their father’s Emerald Necklace design, the plan set out a system of parks and parkways, children’s playgrounds, and public beaches, which incorporated the Los Angeles, Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River watershed areas. The plan was a model of ambitious, intelligent, sensitive planning commissioned at a time when land was available but sadly, due to changing government priorities during the 1930’s depression the plan was never realized.

See a vision (video) for Los Angeles –  The Emerald Necklace Plan   from the The Conservation Fund


Learn about AMIGOS Emerald Necklace Vision Plan and challenges faced in the early stages of creating the Emerald Necklace Regional Park Network.

2005 Amigos De los Rios DVD from Jaime Reyes on Vimeo.



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