From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Rim of the Valley Land Grab Passes Senate – Stop It In The House

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 2000

Rim of the Valley Land Grab Passes Senate – Stop It In The House

Immediate Action Needed.

The Rim of the Valley Park Service land grab study bill passed the US Senate Tuesday, July 26th during the Senate’s rush judgment so they  to go home for their Summer vacation.   

HR 355 (Rim of the Valley) would surround the: 

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; 

in California with a massive new National Park area.

It is likely to swallow up all or large portions of the Angeles National Forest and San Bernardo National Forest into the new National Park.  If they get away with this proposal, will other National Forests be converted into National Parks?

Now the pressure will be on Chairman Richard Pombo and the Resources Committee to allow this bill (HR 355) to move forward in the House of Representatives.

It will also be on him because the bill is co-sponored by Rep. David Drier (R-CA) who we believe is leading his citizens down a path of destruction.  See below for special action items for Representative Drier.

Below you will find the latest article from the LA Daily news about the Rim of the Valley land grab.  

The only problem with the articles is that it failed in include a map.  How do people know whether they should be worried or not without a map?  We asked them to include a map.  You’re going to have to push.

The major thing people tell us most often in new areas is that they did not realize a new area affected them in time to do anything about it. 

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

Go down the homepage till you see the map box.  Click on it.  You will see we have provided maps that are detailed enough you can see if your home is included in the proposed area.

Even though American Land Rights has published a map, need to insist that the newspapers in Los Angeles publish a map so the tens of thousands of landowners who will be affected by HR 355 can have some idea of what is going to happen. 

Action Items below:

The only way for local groups to fight local issues when threatened by Federal proposals is to band together nationwide and support each other.  You, by calling today, will save people who will be there tomorrow to help you when you are threatened.

Rim of the Valley is a giant new National Park being slipped by Congress and is listed just as a supposed addition to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  It is far more than that.

HR 355 and the Rim of the Valley would cost over $2 billion making it the most expensive park in American history.  That is the way Santa Monica Mountains NRA started out.  It was only supposed to cost $155 million in 1978.  Today it is over $1 billion and continuing skyward.

HR 355 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 and over two thirds the size of Yosemite.  All that in an urban area.  

This is part of the giant plan promoted by the Park Service, the Nature Conservancy and the Wildlands Project for a nationwide series of corridors linking all the parks and forests in the United States.  This has the potential for a massive takeover of National Forest and other Federal lands by the Park Service.

Don’t dismiss this because it is in California.  It is a model for what will happen in other areas.

HR 355 will put a circle of Park Service control around tens of thousands of landowners.  Anyone familiar with how the Park Service works knows that is the beginning of ratcheting down the regulatory controls and land acquisition.  They want it all eventually.

Action Items:

-----A.  You need to call, fax and e-mail your Congress in opposition to HR 355 immediately.  Every Congressman can be reached at (202) 225-3121.  If you don’t have his e-mail or fax number, ask for it when you call.

-----B.  Ask your Congressman to oppose HR 355.   Tell the staff person about the map at www.landrights.org.  Virtually no Congressman has seen a map.  When they do, they may realize how crazy this idea is.  Make copies of the map and share them with your friends.  If you live in the LA area, get copies of the map in the hands of Newspapers, radio and TV stations.

-----C.  If you live in the Los Angeles or Ventura County area, call the LA Daily News (818) 713-3000 or and the Los Angeles Times (213) 237-7000 to urge them to print a map of the Rim of the Valley.  

-----D.  Rep. David Drier (R-CA) is a co-sponsor of the Rim of the Valley.

As such, to some degree he makes the bill bi-partisan and insulates it from criticism.   His Republican allies will sign on without reading the bill carefully or looking at a map.  

You must deluge his office with calls, faxes and e-mails over the next week and then do it at least once a week urging him to drop his sponsorship.  Phone: (202) 225-2305.  FAX:  (202) 225-7018.
E-mail:  Internet:  http://drier.house.gov/

Key Staff:
Brad Smith – brad.smith@mail.house.gov
Ryan Maxson – ryan.maxson@mail.house.gov
Alisa Do – alisa.do@mail.house.gov

Vince Erfe – vince.erfe@mail.house.gov
Robert Lawrence – Robert.Lawrence@mail.house.gov
Lindsay Moorhead – lindsay.moorhead@mail.house.gov
Ryan Rogers – ryan.rogers@mail.house.gov

Mark Harmsen  - mark.harmsen@mail.house.gov
(626) 852-2626
Donna Jimenez – donna.Jimenez@mail.house.gov 
(626) 852-2626
Cheryl Lynn – Cheryl.lynn@mail.house.gov 
(626) 852-2626

------E.  Your Congressman will be coming hope for town hall meetings, county fairs and other meet and greet events.  Make sure you go and ask him or her about the huge Rim of the Valley land grab.


If HR 355 passes and the huge expansion eventually passes Congress it will:

-----1.  Will threatened approximately 200,000 landowners, cabin permittees, and others recreation users who like access to their National Forests.  It will impose vast new regulations and red tape on anyone living or owning property inside its boundary.

-----2.  By our estimate, it will cost well 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.  We projected in 1978 that the original Santa Monica Mountains NRA would not cost the $155 million the Park Service was estimating.  We said it would cost over $1 billion dollars.  It has now cost over $1 billion and they are nowhere near done.  

-----3.  Would study expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by adding a corridor encircling large portions of all the mountains surrounding the San Fernando Valley, La Crescenta Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Simi Valley and Conejo Valley in California on the North side of Los Angeles.  It even adds land in the Santa Monica Mountains.

-----3.  HR 355 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.

-----4.  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 that is 153,750 acres.  

-----5.  Will extend a green line around huge areas.  They will then seek to 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.  The NPS will begin to extend regulations and inhibit your ability to even add on to your home.  

-----6.  HR 355 will ultimately dilute the Park Service budget meaning less care for other parks.  The Park Service does not have enough money now to even take care of the original 153,000 acres.  How are they going to take care of 491,000 more?

-----7.  The combined length of these corridors is likely to run in excess of 300 miles.  The Santa Monica Mountains NRA is only about 40 miles long and is already costing over one billion dollars.

-----8.  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.  Roads that are today used for common activities will be closed.  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.

----10.  Films including an episode of “Frontline” have been made about Park Service land acquisition.  You can obtain copies through American Land Rights at (360) 687-3087 or alra@landrights.org

----11.  There will be a massive increase in regulations controlling private and community activities with the encircled areas.  HR 355 will interdict transportation corridors, which will mean new bridges and passageways for wildlife corridors throughout the region.  

----12.  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.

----13.  Force the closure of hundreds of miles of exiting roadways substantially reducing motorized recreation and necessary access for hunting, shooting and other sports.

----14.   It will be hard or impossible to get communication towers and other utilities installed in these corridors once they are controlled by the Park Service.  

----15.  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.

----16.  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’ll love the Rim of the Valley Corridor bill.   

----17.  The House and Senate have not held hearings on HR 355.  The House held a hearing on another very different bill a year ago.  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.  You need to let your Congressman know you want both sides heard at any hearings.  

----18.  Even though there is very little water, what exists is valuable.  HR 355 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. 

----29.  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.  

This article by the LA Daily News has some errors in it.  It says the Rim of the Valley is a Forest Service project.  It also says American Land Rights is from the wrong city, not Battle Ground, Washington where it has resided for 16 years.

LA Daily News
      July 27, 2005


      Author: Lisa Friedman--  Washington Bureau

      Article Text:

      WASHINGTON - The U.S. Forest Service may explore doubling the size of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the Senate decided Tuesday.

      The unanimous vote was a key step in the long road toward including nearly 500,000 acres of wilderness above the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys, known as the Rim of the Valley, into the federal park system.

      ``Today's action brings us another step closer to making the Rim of the Valley corridor part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area,'' said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sponsor of the Senate bill.

      Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, introduced identical legislation in the House authorizing a Department of the Interior study on whether to include the corridor as part of the national recreation area. Government reports estimated the study costs at $500,000.

      It is supported by Reps. David Dreier, R-Glendora, and Brad Sherman! , D-Sherman Oaks.

      ``Hopefully, with this early passage in the Senate, we'll have a lot of momentum,'' Schiff said.

      The corridor includes the west end of the Conejo Valley into the Santa Susana Mountains, then touches the Santa Clara River just above Santa Clarita and the upper Los Angeles River watershed, and would include the Verdugo and San Gabriel mountains and the San Rafael Hills. The area is home to a rare Mediterranean ecosystem.

      Schiff said he introduced the bill ``so we don't look back 25 years from now and wonder what we've done, when the wildlife is gone and the environment around us is permanently changed.''

      Property rights advocate Chuck Cushman, who heads the American Land Rights Association in Battle Creek, Wash., called the bill a ``land grab.'' He estimated that 200,000 landowners in Los Angeles and Ventura counties could become subject to federal regulations if the recreation area is expanded.

      ``The people in Los Angeles don't realize what's coming at them,'' Cushman said.

      Lisa Friedman, (202) 662-8731

      Copyright (c) 2005 Daily News of Los Angeles
      Record Number: 0507270032

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