From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Rim of the Valley Land Grab Moves

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 
E-mail: alra@landrights.org or alra@governance.net  
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org 
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003

Rim of the Valley Land Grab Moves

Would Surround the 

San Fernando Valley; 
La Crescenta Valley; 
Santa Clarita Valley; 
Simi Valley; and
Conejo Valley 

With a huge New National Park area.

The Rim of the Valley Corridor land grab bill, S 347, moved out of the Resources Committee last Wednesday by voice vote.  It has already passed the Senate.  The only barrier is the full House vote that could come anytime.

S 347 is called the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act and would study expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by adding a corridor of all the mountains surrounding the San Fernando Valley, La Crescenta Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Simi Valley and Conejo Valley.

The Rim of the Valley consists of parts of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Susanna Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Verdugo Mountains, the San Rafael Hills, and adjacent connector areas to the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests according to Congressman Adam Schiff.

The study area will encompass 491,518 acres.  That is nearly three and a half times the size of the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area that is 153,750 acres.

You can see a map by going to www.landrights.org 

This is the funny season in Congress.  An incredible number of bad things happen in dark rooms late at night when Congress is distracted.  Everyone is distracted with the election.

Action Items:

-----A.  You need to call, fax and e-mail your Congress in opposition to S 347 immediately.  They are using the Senate number to move the bill in the House.  Every Congressman can be reached at (202) 225-3121.  Regular mail won’t work because the anthrax inspection process slows US Mail to Congress but four to six weeks. 

-----B.  Ask your Congressman to oppose S 347.  Ask him or her to get you a copy of the map of the proposed area.  Virtually no Congressman has seen a map.  When they do, they should realize how crazy this idea is.  

-----C.  Please contact American Land Rights (360) 687-3087 if you want to help battle this dangerous bill.  If you are a member of local cabin permittee or other kind of group, be sure to get them involved. 

Why is the Rim of the Valley Corridor bill (S 347) so important?

It will threaten hundreds of National Forest permit cabins in the Angeles National Forest.  It may threaten cabin owners in the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests as well.  

When the Park Service takes over a Forest Service area, cabinowners lose.  The Park Service does not like cabins and has no permit system.  

S 347 will set a standard nationwide for corridor and greenway bills involving many urban and rural communities.  It could lead to other corridor measures in other National Forests.  If you like the notion of viewsheds and soundsheds, you love the Rim of the Valley Corridor bill.   If they pass it in California, it will be hard to stop in other areas.

S 347 is a “study” bill.  But it is much cheaper and easier to stop the study bill than to stop the authorizing bill that will most certainly come later.  They are using S 347 because that is the Senate version of the bill introduced and passed through the Senate by Diane Feinstein (D-CA).  

“But they are only going to study it, what’s the problem?”.    Ask yourself how the Park Service is going to some out on the study.    Lets guess; we’re going to ask the Park Service to study whether it ought to get more land, more jobs, more money and more power.  Can anyone figure which way this study is going to go? 

If you don’t live anywhere near Los Angeles, why should you care?  Because these studies are the first step toward a Federal land grab in your area.  They are the camels nose under the tent.   

Even if you live in New Hampshire, Montana or New Mexico, a few calls to your Congressman can make a huge difference.  As few as ten letters in a Congressional district will get that Congressman thinking about why he should vote for this bill.  Usually he will get very few calls in support from greens in your state.  So a few calls like yours really count.

Any Congressman can all be reached at the same number by calling the Capital Switchboard at (202) 225-3121.  Ask for the Congressman you are calling when the switchboard operator answers. When their staff answers the phone, ask for the person who handles National Parks or Resources Committee matters or S 347.

S 347 has already passed the Senate and now out of the Resources Committee. It stands a good chance to get passed by the House because of the lack of time to really examine the consequences of the bill.  

S 347 is really creating a monster new national park.  The size is huge and the cost will be even larger.   The size could be a series of corridors with a total length as long as 300 miles and costing you, the taxpayer over $2 billion dollars.  That would make it America’s most expensive national park.

Ultimately what the Park Service will want is a giant network of corridors, some very wide, covering all the mountains around the North West part of Los Angeles and part of Ventura Counties.  Some of these corridors will likely mean the conversion of multiple-use land managed by the US Forest Service to the National Park Service.   

Members of Congress are being told there is no opposition.  And frankly, some of us who were watching it gave it little chance because it would cost so much.  That was a big mistake.  We were wrong and now we’re behind.

The Park Service is famous for its land grabbing and regulatory technique.  One example is that Santa Monica Mountains NRA is well known for being a park where the Park Service was sued and ultimately had to pay large damages for initiating a raid against an innocent rancher, Donald Scott, who was killed in the raid.  All because the Park Service wanted his land.

The Park Service has been a nightmare for landowners in Santa Monica Mountains.  Relations with landowners and others who traditionally used the area have always been bad and continue that way.

Santa Monica Mountains NRA was supposed to cost $155 million when it first passed Congress in 1978 and is now over $1 billion with many more millions need to complete the project.  .

It was supposed to be a “string of pearls” with most land left in private hands.  But that concept largely went away as the Santa Monica Mountains NRA gradually grew and more landowners were wiped out.  

The National Park Service promised they would protect private property owners and that most private land would not be purchased.  However, they continually expand their appetite so the scope and cost of the NRA just keeps increasing.

The Santa Monica Mountains NRA surrounded thousands of landowners preventing them from getting access.  Then they bought out the major landowners and just left the small landowners to twist in the wind.  Numerous complaints have been filed about the Park Service creating hardships and doing nothing about it.

That is what will happen in the Rim of the Valley Corridor.  It will start with a small scope and gradually increase over time until the Federal Government and the National Park Service take over huge portions of the mountains around Los Angeles.

The proposed new Park Service area is likely to cost over $2 billion in additional dollars.  That could be grossly understated.  The size and scope of the Rim of the World Corridor is so huge is defies imagination.  The funding required would detract from existing National Parks that are already strapped for funds for basic health, safety and visitor services.

When this writer served on the National Park System Advisory Board appointed by President Ronald Reagan in the early 80’s, most members who had been appointed by President Jimmy Carter felt that Santa Monica Mountains was a noose around the neck of the entire Park Service and should never have been a Federal park.  Its only claim to fame is that it burns every five years.

Now the Park Service and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy want to expand it.  Ask your Congressman why he would want to support a huge money sump like that.

If S 347 passes and the huge expansion eventually passes Congress it will:

-----1.  Cost over $2 billion dollars and perhaps a great deal more to carry out their grandiose land acquisition and regulatory scheme.   It will become a never-ending money pit with Congress having to keep up with public expectations.

-----2.  Includes part of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Susanna Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Verdugo Mountains, the San Rafael Hills, and adjacent connector areas to the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests.

-----3.  The study area will encompass 491,518 acres, that’s two thirds the size of Yosemite.  It’s nearly three and a half times the size of the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area which is 153,750 acres.  It will run approximately 300 miles giving it a huge scope.

-----4.  Will control land use within and adjacent corridors by threatening eminent domain (condemnation) of the land.  That is how they prevent building and lots of other uses.   ALRA saved a ski area in Maine recently that had been continually threatened with condemnation.

-----5.  S 347 will ultimately dilute the Park Service budget meaning less care for other parks.

-----6.  The combined length of these corridors is between 150 and 300 miles long.  The Santa Monica Mountains Corridor NRA is only about 40 miles long and is already costing over one billion dollars.

-----7.  The corridors will be like a series of giant nooses put around the necks of the many communities in the encircled areas.  Economic and social activities will be greatly inhibited.  Access people now take for granted will be lost forever.  Frankly, the Park Service has a record of being a very bad neighbor.   Go to www.landrights.org for several socio-cultural assessments and histories of Park Service abuses.

-----8.  There will be a massive increase in regulations controlling private and community activities with the encircled areas.  S 347 will interdict transportation corridors, which will mean new bridges and passageways for wildlife corridors throughout the region.  

-----9.  They’ll use the wildlife as an excuse for substantial new regulatory controls.  They’ll build bridges for the wildlife over the freeways but you’ll be locked out.   For example over 90% of Yosemite is now closed off to most of the public.  They are closing campgrounds and parking lots and soon you will have to take a bus just to get into the park.

----10.  Force the closure of hundreds of miles of exiting roadways substantially reducing motorized recreation.

----11.   It will be hard or impossible to get communication towers and other utilities installed in these corridors.  

----12.  They say they will put in hiking trails, but the area is so hot in the summer that very little hiking takes place.  There is virtually no water.   In the winter, it becomes floods and mud.  At the existing Santa Monica Mountains NRA they have to actually bus people out of the center of the City of Los Angeles in order to increase visitorship.  People who have a choice don’t spend much time there.

----13.  Movie and TV companies who use these areas for films will be prevented from doing their normal work.  The Park Service likes naturalness.  They don’t really like people.  They just want enough to justify their budget.

----14.  Creation of the Rim of the Valley Corridor could require tougher Class I air standards that would have a negative impact on private industry throughout the San Fernando Valley and the other areas.  If you like the notion of viewsheds and soundsheds, you love the Rim of the Valley Corridor bill.   

----15.  The House has not held a hearing on S 347.  They did hold a hearing on another very different bill.  The Senate held a hearing but had no one testify against the bill.  That’s fairness for you.  You would think they would want to hear from both sides.  So Congress is really operating in the dark.  

----16.  Even though there is very little water, what exists is valuable.  S 347 will give the National Park Service a large measure of control over all the high ground around these valleys.  Historically that means the agency uses that power to interdict the goals of local communities and business. 

----17.  The Park Service also seeks to keep communities from allowing landowners to use their land by threatening the cities and towns with the loss of Federal funds of all kinds.  
Besides calling, faxing and e-mailing your personal Congressman, it is especially  important to make calls to the Congressmen listed below.  If you don’t have your Congressmans fax number, call and ask for it.

House Resources Committee -  All can be called at the Capital Switchboard at  (202) 225-3121.  You can fax the committee at (202) 225-5929.  Be sure to put the Congressman’s name on it.  (We’re only listing those Members who may be open minded about this issue and willing to listen)

Richard Pombo (R-CA) (Chairman)
Don Young (R-AK)
Billy Tauzin (R-LA)
Elton Gallegly (R-CA)
John Duncan (R-TN)
Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Scott McInnis (R-CO)
Barbara Cubin (R-WY)
George Radanovich (R-CA)   (S-347 is his substitute bill as Chairman of the Parks Subcommittee.)
Walter Jones (R-NC)
Chris Cannon (R-UT)
John Peterson (R-PA)
Jim Gibbons (R-NV)
Mark Aouder (R-IN)
Greg Walden (R-OR)
Tom Tancredo (R-CO)
JD Hayworth (R-AZ)
Tom Osborne (R-NE)
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Tom Cole (R-OK)
Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Calvin Dooley (D-CA)
Brad Carson (D-OK)
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)
Joe Baca (D-CA)

If you live in California, call at least three friends to ask them to call.

Forward this message as widely as possible.  

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