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Much Of L.A.'s Coastline Could Become A Federally Protected Park

Surf's up brah (Photo by Eric Demarcq via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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A bill proposed in Congress by two Southern California representatives could designate much of L.A. County's coastline as part of a federally protected national recreation area.As the Daily Breeze reports, Ted Lieu and Maxine Waters introduced HR 4871 last month, which would incorporate beaches from Santa Monica to San Pedro, including the Ballona Wetlands in Playa del Rey, into the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which is already federally protected.

A "companion bill," introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff, proposes the expansion of the Santa Monica Mountains area itself, pushing it further east into the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County and out toward the Angeles National Forest, which was recommended by the National Park Service in February.

If the beaches fall under federal jurisdiction with the passage of HR 4871, more funding would be available for a proposed three-year long study that will focus on conservation and land usage.

Topics included in the study would look at redesignating the area as the "Santa Monica Mountains and Coastal Recreation Area" (emphasis ours) or completely creating an entirely new coastal recreation area which would be called the "Los Angeles Coastal Recreation Area." Already, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area are adjacent to 46 miles of coastline; as KPCC notes, the bill would add an additional 35 miles of coastline.

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According to the text of the bill, there's a focus on protecting and preserving wildlife and the environment, but also a desire to create open, public space, including the establishment of connections between trail systems, "with the aim of creating or maintaining single contiguous trails along the Santa Monica Bay coastline and through Ballona Creek into the Baldwin Hills and encompassing major feeder trails connecting adjoining communities and regional transit to the trail system." Nice.

According to the Daily Breeze, major environmental groups support the bills, but regulatory agencies are concerned about how this would impact property holders, along with safety and regulatory issues.

Lieu told KPCC, "We are park poor in Southern California. We don’t have as many trails and so on, and this is one way to try to get more money to create more trails, more open space, more conservation...[The bill] really is just more of a designation that allows the federal government to provide much more federal monies and resources to these areas to assist the state and local communities."