Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and the Los Angeles Congressional delegation urged the National Park Service on Wednesday to make sure its proposed plan to place the so-called Rim of the Valley in the national parks system incorporates both urban recreational uses and habitat preservation.
A study looking at the proposed Rim of the Valley contains two preliminary options for adding all or some of the mountains encircling the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys to the parks system.
One would focus on connecting communities, adding Griffith Park, the Verdugo Mountains and portions of the Los Angeles River. The other would link natural habitats, bringing in the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains.
The representatives’ letter asked the National Park Service to choose a hybrid alternative that would include both urban community-focused areas as well as natural habitat in an expanded Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
“Experiencing the mountains and wilderness in our backyard is something that every family should have the opportunity to do, not just now, but in the future as well,” Schiff said in a statement.
Schiff was joined in signing the letter by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) and seven other Los Angeles-area Congressional members.
The proposal could end up putting more than 490,000 acres under federal protection from development and keep the areas open for recreational use.
Sherman issued his own statement supporting a hybrid option on Thursday, urging the park service to include both communities and habitats in an expanded national park area.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to protect the natural, cultural and historical resources of this diverse area, as well as expand recreational and educational opportunities for millions of park users throughout Southern California,” Sherman said in the statement.
Anne Dove, who led the Rim of the Valley study, said last month the study team would look at all alternatives, including the combination proposed by Schiff, in its draft environmental impact assessment. She said theteam would gather another round of public input when the draft study is released in 2014. The final study will be submitted to Congress later that year.
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