After receiving more than 2,000 comment letter and emails, the National Park Service has issued a newsletter summarizing the concerns of the public regarding their Rim Of The Valley Corridor Special Resource Study.
In addition to those writing their comments after reviewing the study online, more than 400 people attended nine public meetings, which were held in various locations throughout the study area.
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The study began last year, when the public’s help was initially sought to determine the overall approach to the study and determine its boundaries. The NPS has issued a newsletter with the details and invites further comment as they conduct feasibility studies to determine the NPS’s role.
The public requested that boundaries of the study area be expanded to include access to the Santa Clara River; the Pacific Crest Trail crossing State Route 14 and Vasquez Rocks; the northern rim of the Santa Clarita Valley; Bouquet, Chiquito and Hasley Canyons and Val Verde.
Those commenting also emphasized the importance of protecting and interpreting the study area’s history, particularly regarding historic routes, the contributions made by the motion picture industry and mineral and oil exploration.
Areas of interest included the Butterfield Stage Route, Beale’s Cut, the Steven T. Mather Borax Mine in Mint Canyon; the Ridge Route and Rancho Camulos.
Specific natural resources that writers requested be considered included open spaces in Newhall Ranch, the Santa Clarita Woodlands, including East and Bee Canyons (because of their unique mix of conifers, oaks, ash and walnut trees); Sunshine Canyon, Towsley Canyon (because of its perennial stream, watershed and oil seeps); Tick Canyon (habitat of the California gnatcatcher); and Vasquez Rocks/Agua Dulce (Pacific Crest Trail route is a wildlife crossing).
Expanding the study areas to include all wildlife corridors seemed to be a priority of the letter-writers.
Ideally, the study would result in a multi-jurisdictional partnership between the National Park Service and state and local agencies to protect the natural and historic resources for the best public use. Of concern to those commenting was the addition of an another layer of bureaucracy; if it meant new costs or taxes, the opinion was not favorable.
The Park Service is quick to point out that this survey is not being done for the purpose of creating a new national park, but to evaluate the natural and cultural resources in the area.
The next public comment period, which will include another round of public meetings, will open in 2012 when conceptual alternatives are developed. The final report, which will include a preferred management option for the area is anticipated in 2014.
To get involved in the process, visit the study website, sign up for the study mailing list or e-mail list and watch for announcements of future public meetings or workshops to share information, discuss issues, concerns and potential outcomes.