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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.