Rep. Schiff has concerns about San Gabriels proposal

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) warned that a U.S. Department of the Interior recommendation that the San Gabriel Mountains be designated a national recreation area separate from the Santa Monica Mountains will create its own set of challenges.

On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recommended adding the San Gabriel River watershed and most of the San Gabriel Mountains to the National Park Service as a component of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, the L.A. Times reported.

The study recommends that the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service work together through the Service First Authority joint effort in order to protect and service the new park unit.

Schiff, however, isn’t ready to move forward without looking at how to connect the San Gabriel Mountains and watershed to other open space in the region.

A study looking at the so-called Rim of the Valley, started by legislation introduced by Schiff in 2007, is currently evaluating options for adding the mountains encircling the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys to the national parks system.

In a statement Thursday, Schiff said that he worried that adding the watershed and mountain range as a geographically separate section of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area would create logistical and administrative challenges.

Instead, Schiff said the best solution would protect the San Gabriel Mountains and watershed, as well as connect them to the rest of the system through the Rim of the Valley study, which is scheduled to be completed next year.

“This would ensure that most of the protected open space areas in the Los Angeles area are governed under the same jurisdiction, and receive adequate management and support to improve recreational opportunities and preserve valuable ecosystems throughout the region,” Schiff said.

-- Daniel Siegal,

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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