ACTION ALERT: Park Service taking over two National Forests
1/6/2012 12:19 PM
By Chuck Cushman
American Land Rights Association
The National Park Service planned the comment period during Christmas and New Year’s Day hoping you would be asleep. Let’s show them. Attention all land rights activists nationwide: To be successful stopping land grabs in your area, all groups must support one another. Even if you live outside California, the giant land grab described below is important for you to help stop. Please take the time to send comments. It will make a big difference to you when they come for your area ... and they will.
Attention: All users of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests.
Attention: All landowners in all the valleys surrounding the San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardo Mountains, the proposed Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area and the existing Santa Monica Mountains NRA.
Attention: All ranchers, miners, loggers, off-highway vehicle users, hikers, fishermen, hunters and other National Forest users.
You are about to lose access to the Angeles National Forest and the San Bernardino National Forest. You will lose access to the San Gabriel Mountains and the San Bernardino Mountains.
The proposed San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area will run from Santa Clarita to Palmdale east the end of the Angeles National Forest and down will into the San Gabriel Valley all the way to a portion of Orange County. Huge.
The Park Service plans to combine this enormous area with the proposed Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area (Park) covering the rest of the Mountains around Los Angeles.. All of this has been planned for years by Joe Edmiston, head of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
The Park Service is doing its usual sneaky way of creating a giant new National Park around Los Angeles called at this time the
San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area.
They are only doing part of it now with the rest of the giant Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area coming later. It may be called a National Recreation Area but the Park Service manages all their areas the same. They are all managed like a park.
You must get comments in quickly, by Monday, January 9.
1. Call your Congressman (202-225-3121) and both Senators (202-224-3121) to ask them all to request the Park Service to extend its deadline on the study draft. Get a promise that they will make the call. When a Congressman and Senator make this kind of request, it is almost always honored.
San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study and Environmental Assessment *has just recommended a giant new National Recreation Area to be made out of the San Gabriel Watershed and the San Gabriel Mountains.* But it is really going to be a National Park. This is in addition to the Rim of the Valley study area also going on.
You may think you will get more recreation. You will actually get much less. And your access will be cut off. The Sierra Club want even more including most of the new area as Wilderness. Then you can’t go there.
The present deadline is January 9th extended from Dec.16. You can see how they are trying to sneak through this study when you were busy with Christmas and New Years.
You need to ask that the Study be extend at least 90 Days.
You need to ask that it be a full Environmental Impact Statement, not a cut down Environmental Assessment. Ask your Congressman and Senator to request a full Environmental Impact Statement.
Why ask for the Environmental Impact Statement? Because this recommended new park will impact tens of thousands of people and landowners and billions of dollars in economic activity.
Billions of dollars in important minerals are in the area and will be excluded from exploration and mining, hurting the economy even more.
Many forms of recreation will but cut off and eliminated. Thousands of landowners will lose their land.
And this is only half of the huge new park that is going to be pushed through.
The other half will come when the Rim of the Valley study is released later this year or next.
2. Go to http://www.nps.gov/pwro/sangabriel to see the Park Service announcement. You can also see a map.
3. Send a letter requesting that the Park Service take the No Action alternative. The management of the San Gabriel Mountains should stay with the U. S. Forest Service.
Look below where we have listed some comments. Take a few, put them in your own words and send them to the Park Service requesting that the U. S. Forest Service maintain management of the area. Request that no action be taken.
Send your comments by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Address them to: (Do not use US Mail, it is too slow)
National Park Service, Planning, San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Study, 333 Bush St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94104
For more information go (415) 623-2311 or send a request to email@example.com
You can see a quality map of the Rim of the Valley portion where you can find your individual property location by going to the American Land Rights Association website at: www.landrights.org
The new proposal for the San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area has a map at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/sangabriel
We have not done a complete analysis of he San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area like we have for the Rim of the Valley part. But here is the impact of the Rim of the Valley portion of the proposal that will be released soon. You can see the enormous impact.
4. You can go to the Rim of the Valley website and the San Gabriel Watershed website and sign up for announcements of the progress of the two studies. It is critical that you sign up because there will be important meetings and events that you will learn about by being on the Park Service e-mail and Snail Mail mailing list. Make sure you sign up.
Rim of the Valley
San Gabriel River Study
Make sure you sign up for Park Service releases at both websites.
Just the Rim of the Valley portion of this huge new Park Service area will place a Park Service noose around the necks of 169,000 threatened landowners. 158,000 in L.A. County and 11,000 in Ventura County.
The regulatory cost is staggering. Landowners have no idea what is coming at them.
About $7 Billion is our projected land acquisition cost but it could easily cost much more. That will make it the most expensive national park in history. It will jeopardize funding for other parks nationwide needing money for maintenance for years to come.
The Park Service is approximately $10 billion behind in basic health and safety-deferred maintenance. At some point we need to take care of what we’ve got rather than keep adding and adding.
The Park Service is a bad neighbor when it comes to fire. They will not allow you to clean your land of fire hazard brush and will not clean their own ground. Giving the Park Service control imposes a huge fire hazard on any landowners near the Rim of the Valley.
Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area is adjacent to and attached to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. That area’s real claim to fame is that it burns every five years.
It will include and threaten 158,000 private parcels in Los Angeles County and 11,000 in Ventura County. These are in addition to those landowners trapped in the existing Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and those in the San Gabriel River Watershed study area.
There are many National Forest Cabin Permittees in the proposed area. Large portions of the Angeles National Forest will be converted into National Park. The San Bernardino and Las Padres National Forests are also threatened with at least partial national park status. Call any cabinowners you know to urge that they oppose the Rim of the Valley National Park. The Park Service does not allow permit cabins.
Background on whole Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area proposal:
The proposed Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area would surround the:
- parts of the Santa Monica Mountains;
- the Santa Susanna Mountains;
- the San Gabriel Mountains;
- the Verdugo Mountains;
- the San Rafael Hills;
Nearly the entire Angeles National Forest, part of the San Bernardino NF and adjacent connector areas to the Los Padres National Forests will be made part of the Rim of the Valley National Park and change control to the National Park Service. This means the loss of access and closed roads in the Angeles National Forest and the San Bernardino National Forest. It will mean huge loss of recreation.
The Rim of the Valley and San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Areas will cost over $7 billion making them the most expensive parks 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 nearly $1 billion when you combine the National Park Service land acquisition and land acquisition by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. It continues skyward.
The legislation that created the study 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.
Don’t be confused when they call it a study. Congress will ask the giant Park Service bureaucracy if they want more land, more money, more power and more people. What do you think any self-respecting bureaucracy is going to say? Of course they want it. They always want more.
The study area for the Rim of the Valley portion 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.
You can see a map by going to www.landrights.org
Just click on the link on the website homepage.
This map was originally produced by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. They have deliberately tried to hide the full impact of the Rim of the Valley by how they have shaded the areas in the map. They call it a corridor but it actually surrounds and includes huge areas of private land. The Park Service does not like private land within their boundaries. They will try to buy it all or regulate it all over time.
Be sure to call your local newspapers to get them to print a map of the giant proposed San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area They must also print a map of the proposed Rim of the Valley NRA.
The Rim of the Valley National Park 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.
This writer was told by the Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks in the Carter Administration in 1978: “If Congress puts a circle around it, we’re going to own it all.”
The Rim of the Valley will become a huge fire hazard. The Park Service will prevent landowners from removing vegetation and brush for fire protection and will not clean their land. The result will be fires even more massive than you are suffering now. This is not speculation. This is how the Park Service presently manages the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Be sure to go to www.landrights.org for a copy of the map of the Rim of the Valley. You can enlarge it to make it more readable. Make sure you ask your local newspapers to print a map of the proposed Rim of the Valley National Park Service area.
People in the Rim of the Valley study area and the San Gabriel River Watershed and Mountains study area have no idea what is coming.
Comments you can use about the proposed San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area and The Rim of the Valley National Recreation Areas: (Please put in your own words)
1. Will threatened thousands of landowners and recreation users.
2. Create a huge fire hazard. The Park Service will not allow you to clear your brush and they will not clear theirs. The result
could be a disaster.
3. By our estimate, it will cost over $7 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.
4. 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. This does not include all the new areas proposed in the San Gabriel Mountains NRA.
5. The full Rim of the Valley NRA 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.
The Rim of the Valley study area covers 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.
7. 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.
The Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area will ultimately dilute the Park Service budget meaning less care for other parks.
9. The combined length of these Rim of the Valley corridors is likely to run as much as 300 miles long. The Santa Monica Mountains Corridor NRA is only about 40 miles long and is already costing over $1 billion. And this does not include all the costs associated with the San Gabriel River Watershed study and what it adds to the Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area.
10. 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.
1. There will be a massive increase in regulations controlling private and community activities with the encircled areas. The Rim of the Valley National Park 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. Your access to areas now managed by the US Forest Service will be greatly reduced.
14. It will be hard or impossible to get communication towers and other utilities installed in these corridors.
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 including the San Gabriel Mountains NRA 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. The economic costs to the local economy will be huge. If you like the notion of viewsheds and soundsheds, you love the Rim of the Valley Corridor bill.
17. Even though there is very little water, what exists is valuable. The Rim of the Valley 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.
18. 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.
19. The proposed San Gabriel Mountains NRA says it will only buy from Willing Sellers. That is a con job. Bait and switch. They get you to relax now and then take the protect out of the bill at the last minute. Unless the legislation by Congress says willing seller, promises by the Park Service mean nothing.
Why are the Rim of the Valley and San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Areas so important?
They will threaten thousands of landowners and permittees in the mountains around Los Angeles. It will threaten private owners in the Angeles National Forest and may threaten owners in the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests as well.
When the Park Service takes over a Forest Service area, landowners and recreation users lose. The Park Service does not like private uses and has almost no permit system.
The Rim of the Valley National Park will set a standard nationwide for corridor and greenway bills involving many urban and rural communities. It will likely 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.
The Rim of the Valley Study is really creating a monster new national recreation area. 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 $7 billion dollars.
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.
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.
It was said in 1978 when the bill creating the Santa Monica Mountains NRA 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, either by purchase or by regulation.
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. Much of the actual land acquisition has been carried out by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. They and the Park Service work closely together to strangle landowners.
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 areas are likely to cost over $7 billion in additional dollars. That could be grossly understated. The funding required would detract from existing National Parks that are already
strapped for funds for basic health, safety and visitor services.
For more information, please contact:
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400
Battle Ground, WA 98604
Short LA background of Charles (Chuck) Cushman
Appointed to the National Park System Advisory Board by President Reagan in 1981.
Chairman of LA Mayor Bradley's Education Committee in 70's.
Father was a Boy Scout Executive in both the San Fernando Valley Council and the Verdugo Hills Council in the 40's and 50's. These assignments cover a lot of the area in the Rim of the Valley. It offered a chance to cover most of the back roads of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests.
Camped and traveled in the Rim of the Valley area extensively.
Graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1961.
Father left the Boy Scouts and taught at North Hollywood High in the ‘50s and ’60s.
Father was a Summer ranger in Yosemite National Park in the ’50s and ’60s.
I was in the YMCA in North Hollywood as well as the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Explorer Scouts in North Hollywood.
I was in the Deputy Auxiliary Police in Los Angeles.
I was in the insurance business in Sherman Oaks and then Beverly Hills from 1963 to 1977. I’m a life member of the Million Dollar Round Table with 13 qualifications.
I believe I know the proposed Rim of the Valley and San Gabriel River Watershed study areas well.
— Chuck Cushman
You can obtain more information on the web by using the following search terms:
Charles S. Cushman
American Land Rights Association
National Inholders Association
League of Private Property Voters
You can also go to www.landrights.org