The National Park Service (NPS) released its draft report on Tuesday on the Rim of the Valley Study, which examined the possibility of expanding the boundary of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) to include the Rim of the Valley. The draft report recommends a significant expansion of the existing recreation area and now awaits public comment.
In their report, the park service recommended Alternative C, which significantly expands the existing SMMNRA boundary to include portions of the study area that are densely populated.
“In the 1970s when the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation was created, Congress had the foresight to see that the Los Angeles population would grow and thrive, and it was necessary to act to preserve the open space and natural wonders around us,” U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said. “Over the past two years, the park service has worked to complete their draft report and has now recommended a major expansion of the park, as reflected in Alternative C, to better serve and connect this growing urban population to nature. While I am grateful that the park service has shown the foresight of recommending a substantial enlargement of the existing recreation area by embracing Alternative C, I am disappointed that it did not also adopt Alternative D, which would provide the greatest resource protection possible.
In 2008, Congress passed Schiff’s bill directing the Park Service to conduct a special resource study to determine the possibility of providing federal protection to the Rim of the Valley — an area which stretches from the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, through the Simi Hills and Santa Susannas, Verdugos, and on to the San Gabriel Mountains. The study explored whether any portion of the Rim of the Valley study area was eligible to become a unit of a national park system or added to an existing one, and how the resources could be protected and best utilized by the public. In the fall of 2012, the U.S. National Park Service released its preliminary findings, and offered four initial alternatives — Alternatives A through D — and opened up the conversation for public comment.
Schiff will host a town hall for interested constituents and community members to discuss the new draft report and offer feedback and concerns to the U.S. National Park Service on April 27 at 6:30 p.m. at Descanso Gardens-Van de Kamp Hall, 1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge. Those interested in attending should RSVP to Schiff’s district office at (818)450-2900 or (323)315-5555.
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