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National Park Service Gets $10 Million for Stimulus Projects in Santa Monica Mountains

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As part of the stimulus bill, $750 million was committed to National Parks across the country and California gets 13% of those funds, $10 million of which that will go locally for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which extends from Runyon Canyon in Hollywood to the Pacific Ocean in Malibu (read LAist's dossier of the area here).

Much of that money will go towards solar power systems in various parks, repair of a portion of the 60-mile Backbone Trail and the soon-to-be visitor center at Gillette Ranch (see our photos of the ranch).

"The interagency visitor center has been a vision and goal for the National Park Service--as well as the California State Parks and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy--for a good 25 years now," explained Woody Smeck, Superintendent for the recreation area. When completed, the center will be the one stop information place for the more than 153,000 acres of land within the area.

Smeck said the solar power systems will be installed in a way that will be viewable so park staff can teach the public about green energy, giving the project an education value in addition to its practical one.

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In all, $97 million is going to improve National Parks in California. West of Los Angeles at Channel Islands National Park, $372,000 will go towards solar power and energy efficient windows. A few hours east of town, Joshua Tree National Park will receive $5,306,000 for trail repairs, new gates, and campground/picnic maintenance among other projects.

Project Lists for LA Region National Parks

Santa Monica Mountains, $10,545,000

  • Establish Gateway Interagency Visitor Center at Historic Gillette Ranch Property
  • Install Photovoltaic Systems at Historic Diamond X Ranch and Historic Paramount Ranch
  • Install Photovoltaic Systems at Three Park Buildings
  • Install Rodent Proof Barriers in Multiple Park Buildings
  • Install Two Photovoltaic Systems at Circle X Ranch Refurbish HVAC System
  • Rehabilitate The Latigo Canyon Section of The Backbone Trail System
  • Remove and Replace Student Intern Housing Center Destroyed by Fire

Channel Islands, $372,000

  • Install 10 kW Grid�?Connected Solar Array at Headquarters
  • Replace Failing Visitor Center Windows and Retrofit Park Headquarters Windows for Energy Efficiency

Joshua Tree, $5,306,000

  • Clean and Paint Water Tank Interiors to Prevent Deterioration
  • Decommission Well at Lost Horse Ranger Station
  • Install Gate to Protect Visitors and Preserve Resource Habitat (multiple projects)
  • Maintain Camp Sites and Picnic Area Sites
  • Perform Preservation Treatment on Roads Parkwide
  • Repair and Stabilize Trails Parkwide
  • Repair Damaged Section of 49 Palms Canyon Trail