The National Park Service (NPS) has issued a draft report outlining a proposal to add 173,000 acres to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). The Rim of the Valley Draft Special Resource Study and Environmental Assessment examined a study area encompassing 650,000 acres, evaluating the feasibility of promoting SMMNRA to National Park status and expanding the boundaries to protect vital wilderness corridors.
The study found that the SMMNRA is not suited for National Park status, but recommended that the park boundaries be redefined and expanded by 173,000 acres. Much of this land is already public land, and a large chunk is part of the Angeles National Forest.
The expanded Recreation Area would provide more parks for the 5 million people that live within the study area, and another 13 million that live in surrounding areas. The expanded park would also help protect vital habitat linkages — important for animal populations like mountain lions that travel across large areas.
Rim of the Valley Trail
One of the side benefits of this expansion would be expanded support for completion of the Rim of the Valley Trail. Once complete, it could be eligible for designation as a National Recreation Trail.
The long-distance Rim of the Valley Trail (the red line in the map above) would completely encircle the San Fernando, La Crescenta and Simi valleys. I already want to thru-hike it.
The study is open to public comments before finalizing the report and determining final recommendations. Comments to the report must be submitted by June 30, 2015.
The National Park Service is hosting public meetings to present the study, answer your questions and accept comments. The first one is a virtual, online meeting on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 12:30-2pm.
Download the study and get details on the meetings at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/