To study the Rim of the Valley, the National Park Service is looking for you

If you spend time in the Angeles National Forest or the Santa Monica Mountains, the National Park Service wants to hear from you. A new study considers how the federal government should manage that land.

Park service officials will look at linking upland areas, around the Conejo and Simi valleys in the west, to Santa Clarita, San Fernando and La Crescenta in the east. The name of the project started with a woman named Marge Feinberg. She wrote a masters thesis at Cal State Northridge 36 years ago and in it coined the term “Rim of the Valley.”

"She was looking at the recreational possibilities of a trail around the San Fernando Valley and that term has been expanded to mean the rims of all of these valleys down south here," says Margie Steigerwald, with the National Park Service. She says what happens with the study once it’s done is an open question.

"Possibly expanding the boundaries of the Santa Monica Mountains, that might be one option, we also might recommend a new National Park Area, or an affiliated area, or nothing," she says. "It depends on what we hear from the public and the resources we’ll study for the next few years."

A few years ago, Congress passed a law requiring the park service to study the environmental and recreational resources in the Rim of the Valley Corridor. Steigerwald says studies like this happen fairly often around the country; new national parks, not so much.

"Many people want to have a national park in their area, many congressmen want one in their district, and the bar is set really high," she says. "So the resources need to be nationally significant and feasible – feasibility is partly political and partly economic."

Steigerwald says the park service is looking for public comment about the Rim of the Valley area through October 29. The final report will take another four years.

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