Attendees at Rim of the Valley meeting express concerns over a new national park

By Debra Tash

On Wednesday night, April 6th, the National Park Service held one of six public meetings on their Rim of the Valley proposal in Thousand Oaks.  The impetus for this proposal came from Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) in 2008 through the Consolidated National Resources Act.  It tasked the National Park Service (NPS) to study over 1000 square miles (650,000 acres) from the San Gabriel Mountains to the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreational Area (SMMNRA) near Channel Islands University.  Of that 1000 square miles, almost half is already managed by a governmental agency or environmental/special interest entity.   The NPS was tasked to either create another park or expand the SMMNRA to increase urban/suburban dwellers additional recreational options.

 

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Park Service biologist, Christy Brigham, stated they did most of their work on the study mining existing databases and supplementing that with some field studies.

After seven years since passage of the Consolidated National Resources Act, NPS has finalized report, which can be downloaded in its entirety,  466 pages,  HERE.  Or you can review the Readers Digest version:   Newsletter4EnglishWEB  During their public scoping meeting the NPS facilitors presented five alternatives to the Public, A, the first, doing nothing on to D, which would put over 300,000 more acres of land under Federal management.  Instead of creating a new park the Service recommends a boundary adjustment, something like a lot line adjustment only much bigger.

 

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NPS’s  preferred alternative is C, which would be a boundary adjustment and expand the Santa Monica Recreational Area by over 173,000 acres.

 

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Click for larger image: Rim of Valley Alt. C

With NPS taking so much acreage under its management they hope to complete the 1983 Rim of the Valley Trail Corridor which is now only being implemented in segments.  That would include a trail system stretching from the San Gabriel Mountains to Channel Islands University.

Attendees voiced concerns over property rights.  The facilitators assured audience members that the Service has no regulatory powers like the EPA.  They can only acquire land within their boundaries (stating they have never had to use eminent domain in the SMMNRA—leaving out that they have used it in other parks and to even create other parks).  They will also have the ability to spend taxpayer money on capital improvements, one being the huge trail system.  The Service also has the right to review projects (change of use, building), pesticide/chemical use and proposed mineral extraction (oil, gas, etc.Oat Mountain in the Santa Susana range is a large oil producing area) on private property within the park.

The study found lots of threatened and endangered species in area they reviewed, including such interesting creatures like the “Riverside Fairy Shrimp,” inhabiting habitat located somewhere near the Santa Rosa Valley.

 

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Click for larger version of  Rim of Valley Endangered Species

 

NPS also noted missing linkages comprising wildlife corridors that are not presently protected but do go through private property, which can limit a property owner’s use or even access.  The map is below and it can be seen by the hash-marks that additional land for corridors would swallow up the entire Tierra Rejada Valley and go into the Santa Rosa Valley.

 

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Under their management NPS claims in their report they will be able to protect the environment against fires.  Yet just last year fires raged around and through Yosemite National Park.   When 85 people had to be airlifted from Half Dome this was in the San Francisco Gate Newspaper:

“The fire is the third major conflagration in and around Yosemite this summer, and there are still almost two months left of the fire season. The Bridge Fire, east of Mariposa, is still burning, and last month’s Junction Fire scorched more than 600 acres in Oakhurst.”

A very big concern to those attending the meeting in Thousand Oaks was where the funding needed to manage and utilize the additional acreage would come from.  One man suggested the funding should come out of the Defense budget.  Another concern was how much is actually being used now by the public with the existing parks.  Would more land mean more opportunity or just opportunity to have more land under Federal control?

With the final draft  going back to Congress by the end of this year, it may not be the best idea to green light the Federal government in claiming even more of our county.  It may not be good for people’s right to use their own property, or even the best thing for the urban dwellers who the Park Service says this action will serve by giving them more recreational opportunities.  After all, in the end, somebody has to pay the bill.

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Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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2 Responses to Attendees at Rim of the Valley meeting express concerns over a new national park

  1. Susan Aquino May 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Thank you for covering this subject. And I’m glad to read there were people there concerned with property rights. I attended their last forum and took offense that we need the federal government’s help to protect our open lands. Inviting them in only sets the stage for more and more intrusive regulations.

    Reply
  2. Carl Olson May 8, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Dear Sirs:

    The Rim of the Valley Park should NOT be adopted.

    1. Los Angeles already has 400 parks. It does not need any more.

    2. The land acquisition would be in very pricey areas, ranging from $100,000 to
    $250,000 per acre. This would bankrupt the budget for the entire country.

    3. The landmarks of the Rose Bowl, Chinatown, the Hollywood sign, Reagan
    Library and others already have plenty of protectors and don’t need new costly ones.

    4. The cost of administering the park would be a heavy operating cost. Too
    much for the taxpayers for such an unnecessary park.

    Sincerely,

    Carl Olson
    P. O. Box 6102
    Woodland Hills, CA 91365
    818-223-8080

    Reply

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