04.08.16

Rep. Schiff Provides Detailed Map of National Park Service’s Recommendation for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Boundary Expansion

On February 16, 2016, the National Park Service released its final recommendation on the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resources Study, which examined the possibility of expanding the boundary of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) to include the Rim of the Valley Corridor, which can be viewed here.

This recommendation is not binding and as Rep. Schiff moves forward with drafting legislation to expand the SMMNRA boundary, he is providing a more detailed map for the public to solicit feedback on the NPS proposal. Click here to view the map.

Representative Schiff encourages the public to share their thoughts with him regarding the final report and the boundaries you would like to see via email at SchiffROTV@mail.house.gov.

 

Background:

In 2008, Congress passed Rep. Schiff's bill directing the National Park Service to conduct a special resource study to determine the feasibility of providing federal protection to the Rim of the Valley Corridor – an area which stretches from the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, through the Simi Hills and Santa Susanas, Verdugos, and on to the San Gabriel Mountains. The study explored whether any portion of the Rim of the Valley study area was eligible to become a unit of a national park system or added to an existing one, and how the resources could be protected and best utilized by the public.

In the spring of 2015, the National Park Service released its draft report, and offered four alternatives – Alternatives A through D – and opened up the conversation for public comment. In their draft report, the Park Service designated Alternative C the preferred alternative. Alternative A would result in a continuation of current management, and thus no action.  Alternative B would authorize the SMMNRA to create partnerships within the study area, but result in no boundary adjustments; NPS involvement would come in the form of technical assistance and cooperative partnerships to establish an interconnected system of parks, habitat and open space.  Alternative C would expand the SMMNRA boundary to include areas within the Rim of the Valley study area and focus on areas closest to dense urban populations for the purposes of connecting people to parks; it would include the full range of NPS tools and authorities to protect habitats, provide access to recreation and education, and provide NPS technical assistance and capital improvements.  Finally, Alternative D would expand the boundaries set forth in Alternative C to include more resource and wildlife protections.

In response to the draft report, approximately 1800 members of the public, government agencies, organizations and other institutions submitted their comments to both the NPS and Congressman Schiff’s office. The comments were overwhelmingly in favor of Alternative D – the most expansive of the alternatives. Last year, Schiff and other Members of Congress urged the Park Service to adopt alternative D in their final report. In their letter to the NPS, the Members wrote: “[The] Los Angeles congressional delegation colleagues have joined together to support Alternative D — a more expansive option that will provide for more connections between urban populations and nature and better wildlife habitat protection. If we don't act now to preserve these wildlife corridors, they will be gone for good and, along with them, a lot of what we love about Los Angeles."

The final report recommended another alternative, which combined parts of previous alternatives C and D. A map of the recommendation can be examined online here along with the final report:

Congressman Schiff is now working to draft legislation based on the NPS recommendation and feedback from members of the community and interested stakeholders.

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