Southland leaders urge release of Rim of the Valley Corridor study draft
In a letter sent yesterday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), along with Reps. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) and Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), urged the National Park Service to release the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resource Study draft, stating the report was completed months ago, but is stuck in "bureaucratic limbo."
The Reps. expressed their "strong concern over repeated and lengthy delays in the issuance of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resource Study and the repeated failure of the National Park Service to meet its own deadlines" in the letter, addressed to National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis.
The study of the Rim of the Valley Corridor – which includes the mountains encircling the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conjeo Valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties – was mandated by Congress in 2008 and aims to determine whether any portion of the area is eligible to be designated as a national park, or added to an existing national park, according to the National Park Service website.
The study -- which was due for release in 2014 -- will also look into ways that private or government groups can protect resources and provide more outdoor recreation opportunities.
“We’ve gotten continually moving timetables from the Parks Service -- first it was December, then January, then Februrary – it just keeps slipping,” said Rep. Adam Schiff in a phone interview on Thursday. “It sounds like it’s just sitting there gathering dust.”
April Slayton, spokesperson for the National Park Service, said the agency is currently conducting 31 special resource studies across the U.S., and that each one goes through a standard process.
“Each of these studies requires multiple levels of careful review to ensure that it reflects a complete picture about the site's history, significance, and suitability for inclusion in the National Park Service,” she said in an email. “The Rim of the Valley Corridor special resource study is moving through this standard process. The National Park Service appreciates the community and Congressional interest in this site, and once the report is finalized, it will be released for public review.”
The agency released its preliminary findings in 2012, stating that the study area contains nationally significant resources, “including outstanding examples of geologic resources, paleontological resources, biodiversity, as well as a culturally rich, long history of human use as evidenced by nationally significant cultural resources.”
The Reps. state in their letter, however, that since 2012, “the Park Service has repeatedly missed its own deadlines for the next stage of this process.” After initially stating that both the draft report and final report would be released in 2014, the release date was delayed first to fall 2014 and later January 2015.
“At the end of the day, the consequence to the people of our region is, this is a generational opportunity to preserve some of the magnificent hills around us and the wildlife that go with it,” Schiff said. “Because once that’s gone, it’s gone for good."
In addition to releasing the draft report immediately, the representatives also requested a release date for the final report, stating it should be no later than March 13.
“The preservation of the lands included in the resource study is of great importance to the people of the Southern California region,” the letter says. “We are committed to ensuring that these lands are protected for generations to come, and the National Park Service plays a vital role in achieving this in a timely manner.”
Source: Burbank Leader
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