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Hansen Dam

Hansen Dam
Hansen Dam is located in San Fernando Valley
Location of Hansen Dam
Country United States
Location San Fernando Valley
Purpose Flood control
Status Operational
Construction began 1939
Opening date 1940
Owner(s) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Dam and spillways
Impounds Tujunga Wash
Height 97 feet (30 m)
Length 2 miles (3.2 km)

Hansen Dam is a flood control dam in the northeastern San Fernando Valley, in the Lake View Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.[1] The dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District in 1940.[2] Hansen Dam was named after horse ranchers Homer and Marie Hansen, who established a ranch in the 19th century.

The Hansen Dam Recreation Center is located in the flood control basin and surrounding slopes behind the dam.[3]


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Hansen Dam Recreation Center 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Hansen Dam and its now seasonal lake are located along the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley on Tujunga Wash. Tujunga Wash begins between the San Gabriel Mountains and Verdugo Mountains. The dam is 1 mile (1.6 km) downstream from the confluence of the Big Tujunga Creek and Little Tujunga Creek-Wash. It is southeast of the City of San Fernando.

Looking east along the axis of the dam, section of the spillway structure showing the cut-off wall between the spillway and the earth embankment.


The Los Angeles Flood of 1938, which included significant flooding along the Tujunga Wash and at its confluence with the Los Angeles River, increased support to dam and channelize the city's creeks and rivers. In 1939, due to repeated flooding and damage caused by them in the eastern portions of the San Fernando Valley, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the project. In 1939 the Corps, by use of eminent domain, seized the horse ranch land of Homer and Marie Hansen to build to dam.[1] The 2-mile (3.2 km) long, 97-foot (30 m) high dam was built to control the runoff and floodwaters.[4]

Hansen Dam Recreation Center

Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) blooming in upper Big Tujunga Wash.

The Hansen Dam Recreation Center and Park are located here, with extensive day use facilities operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Most facilities are accessed from Highways 5 and/or 210.[3]

The Orcas-Gabreieleno Equestrian Center and Hansen Dam Aquatic Center are located behind the dam here, and Hansen Dam Golf Course in front.[5][6][7]

Recreation Center and Park features a moderate size lake which is filled with circulated drinking water and offers fishing and public boating. The lake is open year-round, including holidays, but may be closed during times of severe weather or for planned events. Also at the site is located a smaller swim lake which features water that is filtered and chlorinated and has a capacity of 2,800 swimmers.[8]

The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks provides lifeguards who service to the three lakes within the flood control basin.

The recreation center and park areas also have: picnic tables and barbecue pits, children's play areas; and baseball diamonds and soccer fields.[3]

The park features equestrian and walking trails, that link to those exploring the nearby Angeles National Forest, and a walking pathway along the dam's top. The habitats include montane chaparral and woodlands and riparian in the rustic areas.

Hansen Dam and the riparian basin.

The Hansen Dam Park natural area's ecology is being restored, with invasive plants removal and native plant reintroduction.[9] The proposed National Park Service Rim of the Valley Corridor and trails would include Hansen Dam Park as a significant hub with trailheads.[10][11]

See also


  1. ^ a b Pitarre, Alyson. "Where country living sidles up to the city." Los Angeles Times. June 12, 2005. 1. Retrieved on March 19, 2010.
  2. ^ "Dam Safety Program". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  3. ^ a b c laparks: Hansen Dam recreation center . accessed 1.2.2012
  4. ^ Barker, Mayerene. "Hansen Dam's Comeback Moves Slowly Recreation: Tons of silt have been hauled off, but restoration of the once-popular lake remains years away." Los Angeles Times. July 20, 1990. Metro Part B Metro Desk. Page 1. Retrieved on March 19, 2010.
  5. ^ equestrian center . accessed 1.2.2012
  6. ^ aquatic center . accessed 1.2.2012
  7. ^ golf course . accessed 1.2.2012
  8. ^ "Hansen Dam Aquatic Center" (PDF). City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. Summer 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  9. ^ natural area restoration
  10. ^ National Park Service: Rim of the Valley Corridor Study . accessed 1.2.2012
  11. ^ Kamal, Sameea (March 4, 2015). "Three lawmakers urge Park Service action on Rim of the Valley study". Los Angeles Times. 

External links

  • official Hansen Dam Recreation Center website
  • Hansen Dam and Recreation Center — Photo Gallery - from Los Angeles Recreation and Parks.
  • Hansen Dam Aquatic Center
  • Orcas-Gabreieleno Equestrian Center
  • Hansen Dam Municipal Golf Course
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