Schiff, Feinstein, Harris Introduce Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act
Legislation Would Add 191,000 Acres to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris (both D-CA) announced the introduction of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act. This landmark legislation would add more than 191,000 acres of the Rim of the Valley Corridor to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). The Rim of the Valley stretches from the Simi Hills and Santa Susanas to the Verdugos and on to the San Gabriel Mountains.
"The Rim of the Valley is the critical bridge between our urban city centers, suburbs in the Los Angeles basin and the spectacular wilderness that surrounds us – our bill would help protect these lands for generations to come," said Rep. Schiff. "As more of this area is developed and open space diminishes, the wildlife it supports is increasingly at risk. Congress must preserve the Rim of the Valley for the next generations, but we must act quickly on a bipartisan basis or this once in a century opportunity will be gone forever."
“Protecting natural places like the Rim of the Valley Corridor from urban expansion is essential for improving the quality of life in the Los Angeles basin,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our legislation would connect more Southern California residents to the trails and vast open spaces in the foothills of the surrounding mountains. It would also protect sensitive habitat for California wildlife including mountain lions, bobcats and golden eagles. The foothills surrounding the Los Angeles basin are a truly special place worthy of stronger protections.”
In 2008, Congressman Schiff passed the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act. This bill directed the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a special resource study of the Rim of the Valley Corridor. The study sought to determine the suitability and feasibility of designating all or a portion of the Rim of the Valley Corridor as a unit of the existing SMMNRA, and how these areas could be better managed and preserved. The National Park Service began the study in 2010 and transmitted its final report to Congress and the public in February 2016. Throughout the process, both NPS and Congressman Schiff solicited and considered thousands of comments from the public.
The Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act would expand the SMMNRA to include many, but not all, of the land included in the study. The lands included within the expansion will be known as the Rim of the Valley Unit. The bill will enable NPS and the local community to better protect natural resources and habitats, and provide members of the community with improved access to nature for recreational and educational purposes.
It will provide NPS with the authority to:
- Implement capital improvements (i.e. trails, roads, facilities for public enjoyment)
- Monitor and study wildlife and ecosystems
- Participate in cooperative conservation and recreation planning
- Provide technical assistance for resource protection and recreation planning
- Contribute financially to projects that protect important natural resources
- Acquire land through donation, exchange, or purchase from will sellers; directly manage NPS lands
The expansion of the SMMNRA boundaries respects private property rights and existing local land use authorities. It will not require a land owner to participate in any conservation or recreation activities, and it will not put any additional restrictions on property owners. The bill does not allow for land acquisition through eminent domain.