On Wednesday, January 22nd at 6 pm, I will be hosting a town hall meeting at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA to discuss the future of the Rim of the Valley. The National Park Service has already provided a recommendation to Congress to create a San Gabriel unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. While this is only a recommendation, Congress- woman Chu, who has spearheaded the San Gabriel initiative, will likely introduce legislation in the near future to act upon it.
Because some of the San Gabriel area overlaps with land included in the Rim of the Valley study area, I want to hear from you and other stakeholders, including members of or- ganizations, businesses and other institutions, to ensure that any legislation will create the most useful and environmen- tally sound national recreation area. I am particularly inter- ested to hear whether residents would like the Rim of the Valley Park to become part of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, the San Gabriel Park, or a new Rim of the Valley Park.
In 2008, Congress passed my bill directing the Park Service to conduct a special resource study to determine the possibility of providing federal protection to the Rim of the Valley – an area that stretches from the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, through the Simi Hills and Santa Susannas, Verdugos, and on to the San Gabriel Mountains. The study explored whether any portion of the Rim of the Valley study area was eligible to become a unit of a national park system or added to an existing one, and how the resources could be protected and best utilized by the public.
In the fall of 2012, the National Park Service released its preliminary findings, and offered four initial alterna- tives – Alternatives A through D – and opened up the con- versation for public comment. Thousands of residents and members of government agencies, organizations and other institutions submitted their comments to both the NPS and Congressman Schiff’s office. Over 4750 individuals wrote in supporting a combination of the boundary adjustment for alternatives C and D, which would adjust the boundary of the recreation area to connect many people in urban areas to the park, as well as provide key habitat protections.
The Park Service is now in the process of developing a recommendation to present to Congress that will take into account the public comments, and expects to publish a draft of their recommendation to Congress for the Rim of the Valley this summer.