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Feds Want To Double Size Of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

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Despite being a massive, sprawling metropolis, Los Angeles is blessed to have some truly beautiful mountains and wilderness right at its doorstep. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area already protects 153,000 of these acres, and now the National Park Service wants to double its size.On Tuesday, the NPS submitted a recommendation to Congress to add over 170,000 acres under the protection of the national recreation area, which would include portions of the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco corridors, the Verdugo Mountains, foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains foothills, the Simi Hills, the Santa Susana Mountains, and Conejo Mountain. Existing parks like Griffith Park, Hansen Dam Recreation Area, Sepulveda Basin, Los Encinos State Historic Park, Debs Park, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, and Los Angeles State Historic Park would also be integrated into the network of parks that make up the system.

"Expanding Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area would provide one of the most densely populated areas in the United States better access to open space and recreational opportunities, as well as increase protection of ecological connections for wildlife," said Martha J. Lee, Acting Regional Director of the National Park Service's Pacific West Region, in a statement. According to NPS, the proposed expansion would protect sensitive biological habitats, archeological sites, and thousands of acres of scenic and open space with miles of trails for outdoor adventurers.

According to KPCC, the submitted plan removes the urban and developed areas that were part of a similar proposal from last year, and instead adds more undeveloped areas.