Proposed national park could swallow 170,000 properties, 500,000 acres

ACTION ALERT: Public comment EXTENDED until Feb. 13. Oppose this land grab!


rim.valleyBy BRAD JONES

Land rights groups are outraged with a federal study aimed at creating a huge national park in Southern California. The proposed national park threatens to shut down small-scale mining among other outdoor and commercial activities.

The American Land Rights Association and Public Lands for the People are two opponents of the proposed plan.
ALRA Executive Director Chuck Cushman states in a recent email sent out to newsletter subscribers:

“The proposed Rim of the Valley National Park is not just hiking trails along the crest of the mountain ranges around Los Angeles as some would have you believe. It is the federalization of nearly 500,000 acres of the Angeles, San Bernardino and Los Padres National Forests and includes — under threat of eminent domain and aggressive regulation — the private property of approximately 170,000 farms, ranches and homeowners.

“The Rim of the Valley National Park will convert hundreds of thousands of now accessible National Forest acres into locked up National Park lands with the roads you now enjoy largely closed off. Combined with the adjoining Park Service, Santa Monica National Recreation Area (NRA), it will be two-thirds the size of Yosemite National Park.

“Congress has little or no understanding of the impact on the economy, energy conservation, private property owners and loss of local control.  This bill expands the 153,000-acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by 491,000 acres which will be managed for “preservation” by the unelected bureaucrats of the National Park Service from Washington D.C and Joe Edmiston from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

“The regions proposed for the expanded NRA are largely already protected by local parks and multiple use management of the U.S Forest Service. This legislation targets private ranches and homeowners — 11,000 in Ventura County and 158,000 in Los Angeles County.”

Cushman also said the Rim of the Valley will include expanded areas into the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests as well as major portions of five mountain ranges:

  • Santa Monica Mountains
  • Santa Susanna Mountains
  • Verdugo Mountains
  • San Rafael Hills
  • San Gabriel Mountains

“Implementation will cost well more than $2 billion. The Santa Monica NRA has already cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion and is still growing. This doesn’t include billions of dollars more in the consequences to the economy, water and energy conservation, construction of transportation corridors, and public works,” he states in the email.

Cushman fears that the federal government plans to push ahead with a national park without regard as to whether taxpayers can afford it or want it, especially in tough economic times.

“The Rim of the Valley Study is really creating a monster new national park … The size could be a series of corridors with a total length as long as 300 miles and could cost you, the taxpayer over $4 billion dollars and possibly a lot more,” he  states in another email.

“Ultimately, what the Park Service will want is a giant network of corridors, some very wide, covering all the mountains around the North West part of Los Angeles and part of Ventura Counties. Some of these corridors will likely mean the conversion of multiple-use land managed by the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service.”

Cushman accused the National Park Service of land grabbing and says they have posed a nightmare for landowners in other areas of the country where national parks have been created.

“The Park Service is famous for its land grabbing and regulatory technique … Relations with landowners and others who traditionally used the area have always been bad and continue that way.”

Cushman pointed out that two studies are being conducted — the Rim of the Valley National Park study and the San Gabriel River Watershed study.

“Eventually, the Park Service plans to combine the two areas and take over the Angeles National Forest and the San Bernardino National Forest into one giant National Park.” he states.

ALRA has been fighting the Rim of the Valley project even before the official study began.

“First we fought a battle over the study and it passed Congress back in 2008 or 2009,” he said. “They have two side-by-side studies going, one is the San Gabriel River and one is the Rim of the Valley,” Cushman said.

“It is enormous. It’s going to be about three times the size of what the current Santa Monica Mountains NRA is. The Park Service is going to have a circle around the San Fernando Valley. This park flows down into urban areas all around,” he said.
Cushman encourages ALRA and PLP supporters, GPAA and LDMA members, outdoors groups, ranchers, farmers, landowners and the mining community to go to the National Park Service websites for both studies and sign up for email notifications to stay informed.

“It’s not too late for people to get on the park service email list and stay informed,” Cushman said.

While the official public comment period has already expired for Rim of the Valley, it has been extended until Feb. 13 for the San Gabriel study. So far, Congress has only approved the study — not the plans for a park. So, the battle has not been lost. In fact, it may have  just begun.

“I’ve often joked … let’s see how this is going to turn out? Congress is asking a federal agency if they want more power,  more money, more people and more land,” he said.

“What self-respecting federal bureaucracy would turn that down? So, the whole thing is bull crap.”

Eventually, Congress would have to vote on legislation to create a national park, Cushman said.

“We’ll have to fight the bill, but it will be a lot easier to fight if we have a constituency that is educated, knows what Rim of the Valley is, knows what the threat to minerals is and knows how big this proposed park is — and it’s enormous.”

PLP President Jerry Hobbs has been studying the Rim of the Valley project and its the implications for mining since it began
“I can’t imagine them going below the 10 freeway.”

Even, if the Rim of the Valley project is scaled back to a National Recreation Area, Hobbs said it will shut down timber and mining operations that are already in those areas, Hobbs said.

Ron Curtis owns a 1,500 acre tungsten mining claim that his father staked years ago out in the San Gabriel Mountains, Hobbs pointed out.

“It’s a $4.5 billion deposit and he  hasn’t been able to mine worth a damn. If he can’t beat the U.S. Forest Service, I don’t think anyone can,” Hobbs said.

“Within the eastern boundary is Mount Baldy village. I’ve talked to them, but they have trust in the government and I’ve given up talking to them,” he said. “That town will be gone.”

In the neighboring Santa Monica NRA, which has been around for many years, all mining and timber industries have been banned, Hobbs said.

“It’s very limited what you can do there — hiking is about all. They’ve stopped rock climbing in most cases — no off-roading,” Hobbs said.


Brad Jones is the Editor / Content Director for Gold Prospectors Association of America.


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Greg Muller
Greg Muller
7 years ago

This is probably an unconstiututional taking of property. They can not demonstrate a compelling case for taking 170,000 properties.

Also, we can’t afford it.