Rim of the Valley a real victory for local recreation
|<b>February 18, 2016</b> - The editors of the Star-News are as excited as we are about the expansion of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include the Rim of the Valley, including the urban stretch of the Arroyo Seco and the LA River.<b></b> -|
|The Editorial Board|
|The Pasadena Star-News|
|Rep. Adam Schiff at the Los Angeles River in Atwater Village. (Los Angeles News Group photo by Keith Durflinger)|
Itís good to see the National Park Service has finally weighed in on the proposed Rim of the Valley with a recommendation to add 170,000 local acres of wild lands, parks and historical sites to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, has been working on this addition for eight years now, and there were frustrating times when it seemed that nothing would ever happen in this latest attempt to carve out in perpetuity recreational areas amid the megalopolis.
The addition would include a stretch of the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco; the Verdugo Mountains above Glendale; the San Rafael Hills; foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Simi Hills, Santa Susana and Conejo mountain areas in Ventura County.
This version of the addition is not quite as large as Schiff and some environmental activists wanted, but we agree with him that after so much consideration, cartography and public input, it will do ó nicely.
Yes, it has to be acknowledged that the proposed addition, while containing an amazing amount of wild land, also has a lot of pavement in it. Lots of Griffith Park is hardly wilderness, and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument and Los Angeles State Historic Park are developed areas in the urban core that is downtown. The Pasadena Freeway, curving through the middle of the Arroyo Seco in South Pasadena and Highland Park, is certainly historic in its own way, but itís also still a freeway.
But that is part of the reality of the crazy landscape, whether actually natural or man-made, that is contemporary Los Angeles County. We are different in that way than any other major American city. Yes, while Griffith is the largest city park in the nation, and contains entirely altered recreational features such as golf courses and the Greek Theatre, it also has wild hills that are so steep they will never be tamed by people and will forever be a refuge for hiking and horseback riding.
Thanks to the wonders of GPS navigation and the hard work of wildlife biologists and photographers, the whole world now knows of the mountain lions that almost unbelievably still roam every range of hills throughout our highly populated region, having their pictures taken under the Hollywood sign with the rest of us. Take that, New York City, with your occasional coyote in Central Park.
But after this recommendation by the Park Service, much work remains. And itís easy to predict that there will still be infighting and negotiating before protections are put in place. The still-mysterious last-minute snafu that occurred when President Obama created the Angeles Mountains National Monument and it was suddenly half the size as when it was announced ó to this day, no one in the government will say why or how the boundary-redrawing occurred ó shows that government bureaucracies work in mysterious ways. In the past, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, had tried to get areas to the east as far Rancho Cucamonga formed into a separate National Recreation area, and expressed fears that it would simply be an add-on to the Santa Monica area, admittedly a stretch, geographically.
But we will take our recreational victories where we find them, and give thanks.
Arroyo Seco Foundation, PO Box 91622, Pasadena, CA 91109-1622 (323) 405-7326 firstname.lastname@example.org