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This Bill Would Help Preserve The Greenway Surrounding The San Fernando Valley

The Fern Dell trail in Griffith Park. (Photo by Michael Locke via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Los Angeles) re-introduced the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act Wednesday, which, if passed, would virtually double the size of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The new area would include a wide swath of L.A., including Griffith Park and a significant portion of the L.A. River. The expansion would allow the National Parks Service to maintain trails, beautify the area, and study its ecosystem. It would also allow for private property owners in the area to sell or donate their land to the Parks System if desired.

Schiff introduced the bill with co-sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). A previous version of the bill, which Schiff introduced in 2016, was co-sponsored by former Sen. Barbara Boxer. The 2016 bill died because it was never considered by a congressional committee, according to the L.A. Daily News. He is more confident the current bill will pass: “I think we will have bipartisan support for this bill,” he told the Daily News.

"The Rim of the Valley is the critical bridge between the urban city centers, suburbs in the Los Angeles basin and the spectacular wilderness beyond - our bill would help protect these lands for generations to come," Schiff said in a statement. He and Feinstein both say the survival of the area's ecosystem is dependent on enacting this legislation. "As more and more land is lost to urban areas, saving natural places like the Rim of the Valley Corridor is becoming increasingly important," Feinstein said.

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Schiff spoke with Larry Mantle on AirTalk about the bill, explaining how it has been a 15-year process to get to this moment. Schiff first introduced a bill to study the Rim of the Valley Corridor back in 2002. It was passed in 2008, and the study was eventually completed in 2016, prompting the first iteration of the bill. At the time, Schiff stressed it would not be an opportunity for the National Parks Service to use eminent domain and turn it into a "federal land grab," according to the L.A. Times. He reiterated this point with Mantle, saying that the presence of privately-held land in the area "doesn't make public private land."

Private land is particularly relevant in this case, because the proposed boundaries include sites like the Hollywood Bowl and the Rose Bowl, as Curbed points out.

The biggest difference between this bill and last year's is the removal of the area around Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Canoga Park. The laboratory saw a radiation leak in the 50s and closed in 2006. Critics were concerned NPS would be responsible for clean-up if the area were included in the bill.

An interactive map of the proposed new boundaries can be found here.