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Expanding the SM Mountain Recreation Area?

Bill would make all of SM Bay part of recreation area

By Sam Catanzaro

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban
national park in the United States and a new bill going through the United States House of Representatives looks to make it even bigger.

Currently, over 153,000 acres of land in the park are managed in a collaboration between the National Park Service, the California State Park System, the Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation Department, as well as various other local agencies and non-profit organizations.

Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced H.R. 1487, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Boundary Adjustment Act, which would commission the National Park Service to conduct a three-year Special Resource Study to determine whether to add the entire Santa Monica Bay coastline to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

If the Special Resource Study determines an expansion is appropriate, federal scientific and infrastructure resources would become available for conservation and recreational use in Santa Monica. Other communities that stand to benefit from such an expansion include Venice, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Culver City, San Pedro, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills, View Park and Faircrest Heights, Marina Del Rey, Palms, Playa Vista, Del Rey, Playa del Rey and Westchester.

According to Lieu, such an expansion could help preserve beaches, waterways, historical sites while creating open spaces for parks and recreational use in Santa Monica and other beach communities. Specifically, Lieu hopes that expanding the National Recreation Area would help in “protecting wildlife populations in the designated area by preserving and restoring the Ballona Creek and Wetlands.”

Lieu also is instructing the NPS to look into the possibility of establishing connections along the trail Establishing connections along the trail systems in the designated areas with the aim of creating or maintaining single contiguous trails along the Santa Monica Bay coastline and through
Ballona Creek into the Baldwin Hills and encompassing major feeder trails connecting adjoining communities and regional transit to the trail system.

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