Press Release Feb 17, 2016

National Parks Group Applauds Recommendations to Expand, Greater Protect Santa Monica Mountains

NPCA supports the final "Rim of the Valley" proposal by the National Park Service, which could add 170,000 acres of important waterways, historic and cultural sites, and open spaces to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Background: The National Park Service released its final recommendations for the Rim of the Valley study, with a proposal to add 170,000 acres of important waterways, historic and cultural sites, and open spaces to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). The study represents more than a decade of work by local communities and elected leaders to explore a lasting conservation legacy in the greater Los Angeles area.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan area is the second most populous region of the country, yet has less open space per capita than any other major city on the west coast. The Rim of the Valley proposal represents an opportunity to better protect and manage some of the region’s last wild lands, open spaces, and historic sites and allow the National Park Service to tell the story of Los Angeles’ rich and nationally significant history.

The study examined iconic natural resources such as Griffith Park, the Los Angeles River, Arroyo Seco, Verdugo Mountains, Santa Clarita Valley, and Santa Susana Mountains. It also included important pieces of the region’s past such as El Pueblo de Los Angeles and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as potential additions to SMMNRA. The inclusion of these resources in the park will enhance their protection and management, as well as provide greater access to open space and outdoor recreation to urban and undeserved communities. National Park Service education, interpretation and outreach programs will also be available to more of the area’s over 17 million residents at a time when too many youth do not have access to safe, healthy outdoor recreation.

Statement from Dennis Arguelles, Los Angeles Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association

“From the Santa Susana Mountains to the heart of the city at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, National Parks Conservation Association commends the National Park Service for its efforts to preserve historic and cultural sites and critical wildlife corridors, waterways, and landscapes worthy of national recognition and protection. After years of supporting this initiative and serving as a leader of the Rim of the Valley coalition, along with The City Project and a network of Los Angeles-based organizations, we call on Congress to advance this important proposal.”

“The expansion would facilitate new partnerships with schools and diverse, community-based organizations to improve outreach and park service-led interpretive programs, better connect youth and families to the outdoors, and build a new generation of national park enthusiasts. Such benefits have strong connections to initiatives led by the Obama Administration and the National Park Service, including #FindYourPark and ‘Every Kid in a Park.’”

“Providing wildlife with more protected room to roam, the expansion would also bolster the research that the park service is already leading in tracking mountain lions and other large wildlife species that make their homes in the region, and would protect critical habitat for threatened species such as red-legged frogs.”

“Through adding the Rim of the Valley corridor to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the park service can lend its tremendous research and planning expertise to the restoration of the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco, which has the potential to transform urban life in Los Angeles. The expansion will also facilitate greater cooperation and coordination between local communities and governments, improve connectivity between natural areas, and help connect visitors to the area’s cultural and historic resources.”

“This Centennial celebration year of our National Park Service provides a timely call to action to advance this opportunity and leave a tremendous conservation and environmental justice legacy for future generations of Angelenos. We commend Representative Adam Schiff (CA-28th), who championed the original legislation on the study, and look forward to working with him, other members of Congress, and local communities to make to make this important expansion to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area a reality.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association

Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.