Help Expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area!
With only 10% of its total land dedicated to parks, the City of Los Angeles lags behind all other large cities on the West Coast in terms of open space. Fortunately, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a biologically unique and historically significant national park site, provides outstanding recreational opportunities for millions of urban visitors each year. However, as the Los Angeles region grows, residents deserve – and require - better access to outdoor recreational opportunities and education programs that reflect the area’s diverse cultures and history.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is approximately 150,000 acres and represents one of the largest protected areas of Mediterranean type ecosystems in the world. It’s a majestic, urban park and a biologically diverse gem which is home to over 1,000 plant species and 500 mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian species. In 2010, the park welcomed more than 550,000 visitors, who infused local economies with $20 million in spending, and directly supported over 200 local jobs.
The National Park Service is currently conducting its Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resources Study, which explores how best to expand the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area to meet the needs of a growing population. The study would increase the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by adding lands surrounding the San Fernando and La Crescenta Valleys, as well as protecting key natural and cultural sites within the densely populated city of Los Angeles. The National Park Service is now developing a variety of alternatives that can help guide the future expansion and manage these resources for the enjoyment of the public. The public is encouraged to comment on the alternatives and to mix and match them to best expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Alternative “C” focuses on connecting urban residents to parks, as well as enhancing recreational and educational opportunities. This scenario would expand the Santa Monica National Recreation Area to include significant urban cultural and natural areas such as El Pueblo de Los Angeles City Monument, the Sepulveda Basin, Debs Park, the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco Corridors, Los Encinos State Park and the mountains surrounding the San Fernando and La Crescenta Valleys. The National Park Service would facilitate the creation of a network of stakeholders, historical societies, institutions, and other organizations that would make recommendations about how best to protect historical and cultural resources, as well as create meaningful education programs.
Alternative “D” seeks to protect critical wildlife corridors that link the Santa Monica Mountains with the Los Padres and Angeles National Forests. These animal superhighways are essential for wildlife like mountain lions and deer that need room to roam in order to find water, food, shelter and mates. Specifically, this scenario would protect the area between the Santa Susana Mountains and the southern boundary of the Los Padres National Forest and from the eastern Santa Susana Mountains to the western boundary of the San Gabriel Mountains portion of the Angeles National Forest.
In the coming months, the National Park Service will finalize its alternatives for the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resources Study and analyze their feasibility. Your participation in this process will ensure that future generations can enjoy outstanding recreational opportunities, learn about Los Angeles’ diverse culture and history, and view wildlife in the spectacular Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Below are sample talking points to add to your comments, whether in person or in writing:
- Develop a plan that protects Los Angeles’ diverse cultures and history, enhances recreational opportunities and preserves wildlife corridors and places them under National Park Service Management.
- Combine Alternative C, which focuses on connecting urban residents to their national parks, with Alternative D, which preserves important wildlife corridors that link the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to adjacent protected areas.
- Incorporate significant urban cultural and natural areas such as El Pueblo de Los Angeles City Monument, the Sepulveda Basin, Debs Park, the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco Corridors, Los Encinos State Park, and the mountains surrounding the San Fernando and La Crescenta Valleys into the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
- Improve the management of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Trail through National Park Service expertise and technical assistance.
- Create new and enhanced education and interpretation programs that explore Los Angeles’ diverse cultures and unique natural environment, through a partnership between local communities and the National Park service.
Take Action: Submit your personalized comments on the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resources Study alternatives by December 26, 2012.