Environment & Science

Santa Monica Mountains recreation area might get 35 more miles of SoCal coast

An area of the Santa Monica Mountains recreation area, which currently encompasses Runyon Canyon Park all the way to Point Mugu.
An area of the Santa Monica Mountains recreation area, which currently encompasses Runyon Canyon Park all the way to Point Mugu.
fredo/Flickr Creative Commons

Legislation to move toward adding about 35 miles of Southern California coastline to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was introduced Thursday by California congressman Ted Lieu. 

Lieu (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4871, which would implement a three-year study to examine the feasibility of adding the beaches of Santa Monica Bay, Ballona Wetlands, Ballona Creek, Baldwin Hills and San Pedro coastline to the recreation area. The Port of L.A. will not be included in the designation, according to the legislation. 

“We are park poor in Southern California. We don’t have as many trails and so on, and this is one way to try to get more money to create more trails, more open space, more conservation,” Lieu told KPCC.

Lieu said that one of the challenges of adding space to a recreation area is ecucating people about exactly what a "recreation area" is. A national recreation area combines "scarce open spaces with the preservation of significant historic resources and important natural areas in location that can provide outdoor recreation for large numbers of people," according to the National Park Service website.

“They are not national parks, they’re not national monuments, there’s no fees, there’s no mandates. It doesn’t affect private property," Lieu said. "It really is just more of a designation that allows the federal government to provide much more federal monies and resources to these areas to assist the state and local communities.”

If the legislation passes, the National Park Service will conduct a three-year study that includes consulting with the public on borders for the area. Lieu said that adding the beach areas would not impact private property.

Lieu said that, following that study, a second piece of legislation would be created to put the new designation into law, based on the study's proposals. 

Lieu's proposed legislation was co-authored by Rep. Adam Schiff, who's also trying to extend the northern part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in separate legislation by including the Rim of the Valley

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is one of three areas with that designation in the state, along with the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

Read the proposed legislation here: 

HR Proposed Bill