Editorial: Let's hear it for foresight in terms of land preservation

The substantial outpouring of support for a proposal to add almost 500,000 acres to the national parks system shows that residents who live in Los Angeles’ dense urban areas value the natural resources around them and want to preserve them for years to come.

Nearly all of the 5,000 people who responded during a public comment period on the proposal were in favor of adding all or some of the mountains encircling the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys — the so-called Rim of the Valley — to the national parks system.

Two preliminary options have been proposed to place certain areas under federal protection from development.

One would connect communities, adding Griffith Park, the Verdugo Mountains and parts of the Los Angeles River to the parks system. The other would combine natural habitats, adding the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who sponsored the legislation that created the study, said he hopes both options will move ahead.

Not only would the plan maintain natural resources and wildlife corridors, it would preserve recreational opportunities for future generations.

And placing the more than 490,000 acres under federal protection would make sure that residents in the Los Angeles area — which has miles and miles of mountains that are free of development — will continue to enjoy those home-free views.

Decades ago, Congress had the foresight to create protected areas like the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Now, lawmakers can leave an even larger legacy — and know that the vast majority of residents here support it.

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