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National Park Service Could Expand within the Los Angeles Region

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The Los Angeles region could get another National Recreation Area congressional designation under a study that is proposing three different concepts for the San Gabriel watershed and mountains. Congress directed the National Parks Service to study and evaluate resources in a large area from the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys down to the Orange County border. No, it doesn't mean we'd be within minutes of a new National Park in the traditional sense--Yosemite, Joshua Tree--but it could mean better managed cultural sites or new trails and protected open spaces. Like the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which is touted as the nation's largest urban park, National Park Rangers collaborate with a number of agencies to manage and protect resources. Included in the current study area is the Angeles National Forest, which is managed by the National Forest Service. Another study currently in progress is the Rim of the Valley, which could expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area around the San Fernando Valley (imagine a trail that someday encompasses it).

Not all the proposals under San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study include the National Park Service, but they all do address protecting natural, cultural and historical resources. "The diverse study area landscape contains mountains, valleys, wildlands, and urban areas," explains the website about the project area. "The San Gabriel Mountains foothills function as the urban/wildlife interface, and provide wildlife connections to river corridors. Although portions of the San Gabriel River and its tributaries have been altered for flood protection and water conservation, these urbanized channels still serve as habitat for wildlife and often provide opportunities for recreation."

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