One of the Los Angeles River's biggest friends got big boost earlier this week.
George Wolfe, who led the first paddle down all 51 miles of the river, got a 2012 River Heroes Award.
The award recognizes exceptional efforts to protect rivers and other watersheds.
Wolfe's pioneering paddle in 2008 led to the River's being declared a "navigable waterway" by the federal government, opening up funding and recreational options.
That paddle is featured in an upcoming documetary, Rock the Boat: Saving America's Wildest River. (See trailer above.)
Wolfe was also key in developing the first paddling program on the River, last summer at the stretch near the Sepulveda Dam in the Valley.
Wolfe says he's keeping his fingers crossed about this summer's boating program, which could include a leg along the Glendale Narrows in the Elysian Valley near Dodger Stadium.
The River Heroes Award is sponsored by Tom's of Maine and the River Network.