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Congressman urges Senate to pass mountain protection study

Ryan Carter

An effort to study the possibility of the National Park Service

securing local mountain land and connecting it to almost 750,000

acres in the largest urban park in the world has inched a step closer

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to reality.

A Senate subcommittee approved legislation last week after Rep.

Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) testified, urging congressional approval of a

federal study that would connect the Verdugo and San Rafael

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mountains and hills above Burbank, La Crescenta and La Canada

Flintridge to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

“I was delighted that the National Park Service testified in

support of the bill,” Schiff said. “Last year, they were neutral

because they were concerned about the cost.”

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which was involved in the

recent purchase of Glendale’s Oakmont V hillside property, offered

$100,000 in support of the study. Several local environmental and

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municipal agencies are supporting Schiff’s Rim of the Valley Corridor

Study Act, including the cities of La Canada Flintridge and Glendale.

“We think it’s important for the area because what it will do is

bring a federal compo- nent to bear on the preser- vation of open

space in the area,” said Marc Stirdivant, president of the Glendale-

based Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment. “We learned

with Oakmont that without federal agencies involved, there was no

federal land or aspect to the mountains.”

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Along with local mountain land, the corridor includes the area

from Santa Clarita to the Arroyo Seco. About half of the proposed new

area is privately owned, Schiff said.

Nothing in the bill would authorize the use of eminent domain, he

said.

The act would require the two agencies to consult with state and

local governments and submit a report to Congress within three years.


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