Park Service studies Rim of the Valley Corridor, seeks input

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The National Park Service wants Southern Californians to weigh in on whether the Santa Monica Mountains and other local ranges should be joined together into a national park.

The study area is the Rim of the Valley Corridor. It includes the mountains that encircle the Conejo, Simi, San Fernando and La Crescenta valleys. Much of that land is already part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area or the Angeles National Forest.

By federal law, the Park Service has to study whether the Rim of the Valley Corridor should be turned into a national park. Doing that would link hiking trails and could better protect wildlife and habitat – including rare, threatened and endangered animals and plants.

But land rights groups have long targeted this project. They worry about what happens to private land in between the swaths that belong to the state and federal governments.

The National Park Service says if the project goes through, the only landowners who’d give up their land would be those willing to sell it. And the Rim of the Valley Corridor project might not go through: fewer than a third of studies like this conclude a park is necessary.

Park officials are holding public meetings at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens Wednesday at 2 and 6:30 p.m.