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Congress To Consider Doubling Size Of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

A view from the top of the King Gilette Ranch, in the Santa Monica Mountains (Zach Behrens/LAist)
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Back in February, we reported that the National Parks Service submitted a recommendation to Congress advising that the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area be doubled in size. Congress has listened, and a pair of bills in both the House and Senate would do just that.

On Tuesday, Representative Adam Schiff introduced legislation in Congress, known as the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, that would increase the amount of land included in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to 567 square miles, up from its present 266 square miles. California Senator Barbara Boxer will introduce a similar bill in the Senate next week. The addition is known colloquially as the "Rim Of The Valley," according to the Daily News.

A quick look at the map below shows that, indeed, the added lands would encircle the San Fernando Valley, adding foothills around the SFV, Simi Valley, the Conejo Valley, and even Santa Clarita and Crescenta to the recreation area. Blue parts are presently a part of the recreation area, purple bits are the proposed addition.

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Purple parts would be added. (Google Maps)
Schiff explained, to KPCC, that giving the National Parks Service (NPS) authority to manage some of the land will help keep preserve the lands and keep them in pristine shape for future generations.

"We still enjoy this abundant wildlife with mountain lions and bears and rare ecosystems that we want to preserve and this legislation will give us a chance to do that," Schiff said.

If passed by Congress, the NPS would be allowed to build public improvements, add trails, as well as greater agency to study wildlife in the area.

Curiously, the proposed addition excludes an area in the hills above Porter Ranch, coincidentally where Sempra Energy operates the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility. As you might recall, Aliso Canyon is the site of the infamous, and now plugged up, Porter Ranch gas leak. Though areas around the facility are included, the extraction field itself is excluded in order to prevent the NPS from developing new bylaws about oil and natural gas production.

Go outside this weekend, just stay hydrated since it's going to be hot.

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