Map: Hooked by Ken Burns? Here are the National Park Units Near Los Angeles
The markings above show units run by the National Park Service. However, areas like Runyon Canyon and Franklin Canyon are part of the National Recreation Area, but run by different agencies | View Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in a larger map
Joshua Tree, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Death Valley. These National Parks have captured the hearts of Californians and millions of others. Channel Islands, Mojave, Pinnacles, Cabrillo. They're lesser known in Southern and Central California, but sometimes just as beautiful, if not equally. And closer to home here in Los Angeles and heading west into Ventura County are a collection of National Park units hardly spoken about by the millions who live here (and will not be talked about in Ken Burns' 12-hour epic documentary, which debuted last night on PBS). They are within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, an area between the 101 Freeway in the Hollywood Hills stretching to the Pacific Ocean and down the coast to the Santa Monica Pier (read LAist's first take on this area here).
The first established National Recreation Area was Lake Mead, just past the state border in Nevada. Later, Gateway in the New York City area and Golden Gate in and around San Francisco became some of the first national recreation areas touted as "urban national parks" because of their metropolitan settings. Los Angeles finally got its due in 1978, the same year the closest classic National Park to Los Angeles was founded, Channel Islands National Park.