Rim of the Valley: New plan emerges to add nearly 191K acres to Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area
|<b>October 19, 2017</b> - Congressman Adam Schiff is re-introducing his proposal to expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area to include the Arroyo Seco and almost 200,000 acres of open space and parkland.|
|Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Newspapers|
|Los Angeles Daily News|
|Rep. Adam Schiff announced that he is re-introducing in Congress his Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act. The congressman then took a group of his constituents on a hike up into the Verdugo Mountains behind the Brand Park Library. Glendale, CA 10/18/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)|
There’s an old adage: If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
That’s exactly what Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, is doing with his second attempt at legislation that would more than double the size of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by adding almost 200,000 acres of wild lands, parks and historical sites.
Schiff is re-introducing the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act on Thursday, he announced Wednesday afternoon while standing on a hillside in Glendale’s Brand Park. The first time he did so was in 2016 with co-author Sen. Barbara Boxer, but the bill was never considered by committee, so it died.
The Burbank-area congressman said the new bill may find more support in the U.S. Senate this time, with co-author Dianne Feinstein, who will introduce a companion bill on Thursday.
Also, Schiff removed the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a contaminated site located 7 miles northwest of Canoga Park where radiation leaked in the 1950s. The lab closed in 2006. Inclusion may have sparked a debate as to whether the National Park Service would be responsible for paying for cleanup.
Despite moves by the Trump Administration to trim recreation areas, specifically national monuments, and open some up to oil and gas exploration, Schiff said he felt optimistic about his bill’s chances this time around.
“I think we will have bipartisan support for this bill,” the congressman said in an interview, saying both Republicans and Democrats have supported further protections for open space in Southern California in the past.
The bill, which adds 191,000 acres to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area, weaves together disparate landmarks — both urban and natural — to connect people from various communities and different socio-economic levels. The new addition would expand the role of the National Park Service, bringing in more dollars and better programs, he said.
“The Rim of the Valley is the critical bridge between the urban city centers, suburbs in the Los Angeles basin and the spectacular wilderness beyond – our bill would help protect these lands for generations to come,” Schiff said in a statement.
The “Rim of the Valley Unit” includes a narrow stretch along the urban shores of the Los Angeles River and its tributary, the Arroyo Seco in west Pasadena; the Verdugo Mountains above Glendale; the San Rafael Hills, a portion of Chantry Flat hiking area above Sierra Madre, Millard Canyon, the Simi Hills and the Santa Susana and Conejo mountains in Ventura County.
Besides untouched wild lands and city parks surrounding the dense San Fernando Valley and parts of the San Gabriel Valley, the addition’s boundary dips southeast to envelop Griffith Park, Hansen Dam Recreation Area, Sepulveda Basin, Ernest Debs Regional Park, El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument, Eaton Canyon in east Pasadena, the Rose Bowl, Hahamongna Watershed Park and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
In the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena and South Pasadena, advocates envision more money for trail repairs and interpretive services provided by rangers from the National Park Service.
“It’s a vision for the future,” said Tim Brick, managing director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation. “You never know what will happen.”
Those who live in the hills near Burbank and Griffith Park believe the bill will provide more protection for an isolated cohort of mountain lions that are dying. Some are hit by cars trying to cross the freeways.
By including the birthplace of Los Angeles, most commonly known as Olvera Street, along with the habitat of birds, mountain lions and bobcats, advocates want to bring Angelenos closer to nature and its history.
“We want the National Parks to tell the whole story, and the Rim of the Valley brings those things together,” said Dennis Arguelles, Los Angeles program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.
“We need to be better at connecting to other regions,” he added.
Rep. Adam Schiff announced that he is re-introducing in Congress his Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act. The congressman then took a group of his constituents on a hike up into the Verdugo Mountains behind the Brand Park Library. Glendale, CA 10/18/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
Arroyo Seco Foundation, 570 W. Avenue 26 #450, Los Angeles, CA 90065-1011
PO Box 91622, Pasadena, CA 91109-1622 (323) 405-7326 firstname.lastname@example.org