National Park Service officials are looking at possibilities for expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and are looking for the public's help, according to a report in the Ventura County Star.
Two years ago, the agency started a four-year study about whether the park should expand into a network of private and public lands in the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys, said the report. The Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resource Study was authorized by Congress, and officials have released some initial findings, said the newspaper.
Those findings include four possible alternatives that range from taking no action to vastly expanding the park to add recreational opportunities and protection of natural resources, the report said.
The proposals are only a starting point for more discussion and can be altered or eliminated, park service officials said.
"These are just preliminary concepts at this point," Anne Dove, the study's project manager, told the VC Star. "We're interested in hearing if there are things people ... would like to see improved upon or if they have whole new ideas."
The review studies a 660,000-acre area that includes a patchwork of land use and landownership patterns, Dove told the newspaper. About half the area already falls within current park boundaries and the Angeles National Forest, according to the report.
According to the report, park service officials say that even with an expansion, any purchase of private land would be "very small" and only with willing sellers, as the service has no regulatory authority over land it does not own.
The agency published its initial findings in a newsletter this fall after holding workshops in 2010, taking in more than 2,000 written comments and conducting a preliminary review of the area and its resources, said the report. Officials are now seeking feedback on the findings during a second round of workshops this month.
For more information on the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resource Study, visit http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley.