Press Release Jun 14, 2016

Congressman Schiff Proposes to Expand Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Preserve and Protect Culture, Wildlife and Waterways

The Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act would expand Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include critical waterways, landscapes, wildlife corridors and important cultural and historical sites.

LOS ANGELES – Congressman Adam Schiff introduced legislation in the House today to expand Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act is a major step toward expanding the boundary of the national park, a proposal that has been under consideration for several years. The legislation was met with support by National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and a diverse group of individuals and organizations that focus on conservation, education, public health, historic preservation, environmental justice and outdoor recreation. Senator Barbara Boxer plans to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

“It is time for areas such as Griffith Park, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the Los Angeles River and the Santa Susana Mountains to be included in the national park in LA’s backyard, to further enrich the lives of both local residents and visitors to the region,” said Dennis Arguelles, NPCA Los Angeles Program Manager and Chair of the Rim of the Valley Coalition. “The legislation introduced by Congressman Schiff would entrust America’s greatest storytellers, the National Park Service, to care for these sites as well as share stories of the region’s history and rich culture.”

The National Park Service conducted an extensive study on the issue, which was finalized and sent to congress in February of 2016. In this study, the National Park Service recommended adding 170,000 acres, known as the “Rim of the Valley” corridor, to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The legislation echoes the National Park Service’s study and recommends adding lands from the Santa Monica Mountains to Downtown Los Angeles and a range of stunning landscapes, critical wildlife corridors, iconic waterways and historic treasures.

“The National Park Service proposal to expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a national best practice for what agencies should do to diversify access to and support for parks, monuments, and recreation areas,” said Robert Garcia, Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project. “We stand with Congressman Schiff who has been the hero behind this expansion plan for years. This plan merits bipartisan support. We don’t seek blue parks, or red parks, we seek green space for all.”

Similar to the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the status of land ownership and control within the boundary expansion would not change as a result of inclusion in this national park.

“The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a partnership park that works – it is a seamless network of local, state and federal parks interwoven successfully with private lands and prosperous communities,” said Kim Lamorie, President of the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation. “As long time homeowners and property owners in the park, our communities have prospered and our quality of life has been enhanced. We are thrilled to see the possibility of these benefits extending to other communities.”

“Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area already serves as a model for unique management partnerships, which would certainly continue with an expanded national park site. Restoration of the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco watersheds would also be supported by the Park Service and its robust scientific research and planning capabilities,” said Arguelles.

“The Rim of the Valley will provide protection for historical resources, Native American sites, endangered species and wildlife corridors and connect greater Los Angeles and parts of Ventura County through multi-use trails, said Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, Executive Director and President, Community Hiking Club. “Kudos to the National Park Service for their long, in depth study, and to Congressman Adam Schiff for gifting us with this brilliant piece of legislation.”

NPCA, along with local residents, community organizations, and elected leaders from downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura County, have long called for enhanced and lasting conservation and environmental justice in the greater Los Angeles area.

“At its core, the Rim of the Valley is about connecting. When we connect open space and parks we improve outcomes for flora and fauna, and when we connect our youth and families to the natural world and important cultural sites, we improve outcome for them too,” said Brad Rumble, Principle of Esperanza Elementary School.

The legislation, coupled with this year’s Centennial celebration of our National Park Service, provides a timely call to action for Congress to act and leave a tremendous conservation legacy for future generations of Angelenos.

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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.