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Rim of the Valley Corridor
Special Resource Study
Frequently-Asked Questions

What is a Special Resource Study and why is NPS conducting one here?

Congress directed the NPS to conduct a special resource study of the area known as the Rim of the Valley Corridor, generally including the mountains encircling the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo Valleys in California (P.L.110-229 – May 2008). The purpose of this special resource study is to determine whether any portion of the Rim of the Valley Corridor study area is eligible to be designated as a unit of the national park system or added to an existing national park unit. The study will also explore other ways that private and governmental entities can protect resources and provide more outdoor recreation opportunities. Study alternatives may consider the entire study area or only portions of it.

What is proposed in the study alternatives?

The NPS evaluates four alternatives in the draft study report, including a no action alternative which serves as a baseline for evaluation.

The common focus of the alternatives is an emphasis on coordinated conservation efforts for the protection and interpretation of the study area by the National Park Service, other federal, state, or local government entities or private or non-profit organizations.

The alternatives evaluated in the draft study report include:

  • Alternative A: Continuation of Current Management (No Action), serves as a baseline for evaluating the action alternatives;
  • Alternative B: Cooperative Conservation Partnership would foster cooperative planning and funding tools for the NPS, partner agencies and landowners in the Rim of the Valley Corridor and key habitat linkages to the Los Padres and Angeles national forests. No new areas would be added to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA);
  • Alternative C: Rim of the Valley Boundary Adjustment (Preferred Alternative), a SMMNRA boundary adjustment (approximately 173,000-acre addition) that would provide more parks and protect habitat linkages, with an emphasis on creating more recreational opportunities near urban areas; and.
  • Alternative D: Regional Rim of the Valley Boundary Adjustment and Cooperative Conservation Areas, a SMMNRA boundary adjustment (approximately 313,000 acre addition) with an emphasis on protecting regional wildlife corridors, would add most areas within Rim of the Valley Corridor (excluding U.S. Forest Service managed areas) to SMMNRA. Cooperative conservation approaches would also be recommended for key habitat linkages between the Rim of the Valley Corridor study area and the Los Padres and Angeles national forests.

How would proposals within the study alternatives affect management by local communities and existing agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service?

A special resource study serves as one of many reference sources for members of Congress, and would not change current management without further action from Congress. Each of the alternatives considered in this study respects and retains the authorities of existing local, state and federal agencies, including USFS management of the Angeles National Forest, and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. U.S. Forest Service management would continue under all alternatives considered. If Congress were to take subsequent actions related to the final study report, the NPS would seek to work collaboratively with local communities and existing agencies on common goals such as improving resource protection and increasing recreational opportunities.

Q: How would proposals within the study alternatives affect property rights?

Each of the alternatives considered in this study respects private property rights. NPS land acquisition and management would only occur in alternatives C and D, which consider boundary adjustments to SMMNRA. NPS policy is to acquire lands and interests in lands only from willing sellers.

What are the next steps in the process?

  • The National Park Service will compile and analyze public comments on the draft study report.
  • The NPS will then finalize the study which will be transmitted from the Secretary of the Interior to Congress, along with a recommendation regarding the Secretary’s preferred management option for the area.
  • Implementation of any of the final study recommendations is a separate process. Designation of new areas as additions to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area would require Congressional action.

How would the study’s selected alternative be implemented?

If a boundary adjustment to SMMNRA were identified in the selected alternative, implementation would require Congressional legislation. If Congress establishes an addition to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the NPS would begin implementing the Congressional legislation. One of the first steps that the NPS would take would be to develop a plan (or plans) that would provide guidance for how the new areas would be managed. Such plans would be completed with public involvement and appropriate environmental compliance. Other proposals within the study report, such as technical assistance and collaborative planning could potentially occur without Congressional action if there was community interest and adequate resources available to the NPS to undertake such efforts.

This study area overlaps with the study area for the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study. How does that effort relate to this study?

The San Gabriel and the Rim of the Valley Corridor studies were each authorized through separate legislation, at different times and for different geographic areas. There is an overlapping portion of the two study areas in the western San Gabriel Mountains. Because this area was studied through the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains study, information and final recommendations from that study have been integrated as appropriate into the Rim of the Valley Corridor study. To learn more about the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/pwro/sangabriel/.


 

updated 2/27/15