Ernie’s Walk is a neighborhood in Sherman Oaks along the north side of the LA River. The neighborhood is named after Ernie La Mere, a local retiree who began efforts to revitalize a 0.3 mile path of the LA River in 1987, which features river rock seating walls, and local vegetation.
In the 1980's, this stretch of river was strewn with weeds and plagued by illegal trash dumping. Retired local resident Ernie La Mere contacted various governmental agencies and prodded them until they finally came and cleared out the trash. In 1987, without waiting for permission, Ernie began planting flowers in the newly cleared river right-of-way. Soon, a few neighbors joined him in planting a colorful assortment of flowers, trees and shrubs. Ernie added benches, bulletin boards, "boot hill" (a mock graveyard with humorous epitaphs that later included some graves for deceased neighborhood pets), a deer crossing, and many more whimsical elements. A neighbor contributed a small sign declaring the site "Ernie's Walk". The walk became the initial site for the County's Adopt-A-Riverbank program in 1992.
When Ernie passed away in 1995, his grandson and other neighbors continued to maintain the site. In 2003, the LA County Department of Public Works renovated the site. The county planted additional native landscaping, including more than a dozen cottonwood trees, and relocated many of Ernie's surviving plantings farther from the river in order to maintain clear maintenance vehicle access. The county also added river rock retaining walls, stairs, ramps, and new fencing. In keeping with Ernie's tradition, the county included plenty of flowering plants. They removed the dilapidated wood tombstones and replaced them with an institutional concrete marker that cryptically states "Ernie's Walk Pet Commemorative" (visible from Valley Heart near the upstream entrance).