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Around The Parks: Hurricane And Fires Recovery Fund, National Monuments, Santa Monica Expansion


From wildfires in the West to hurricanes in the Southeast, the National Park Foundation is raising funds to help the parks recover/NPS

A look around the world of national parks this week finds a new recovery fund in place to help national arks impacted by the recent hurricanes and wildfires, a number of groups calling for changes to The Antiquities Act and existing national monuments, and legislation calling for a 191,000-acre addition to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

National Park Recovery Fund

From the wildfires in the West, to the hurricanes affecting Texas, South Florida, the Atlantic Coast, and the Caribbean, there is a lot of work to be done to get the national parks back up and running. The National Park Foundaton wants to do everything it can to help speed up this process, safely of course, because the foundation knows how much people enjoy the trees, and the trails, and the creative visitor center exhibits. The foundation also knows how much local communities depend on parks being accessible and open. Parks are jobs, parks are stability, parks are recreation, parks are vacation, and parks are hands-on learning.

To help meet the urgent needs of national parks affected by the recent natural disasters and knowing that other disasters may pop up in the future, the foundation has set up the National Park Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. The funds raised will be granted to parks impacted by disasters large and small whenever and wherever they need it most.

Organizations Oppose Antiquities Act, National Monuments

More than three dozen free-market organizations, trade associations, businesses, former federal officials and current lawmakers have signed a letter to President Donald Trump from the National Center for Public Policy Research seeking comprehensive reform of the Antiquities Act and a rollback of national monument designations that threaten economic development and private property rights. The letter asks the Trump Administration to "deal more forcibly with the abuses that have plagued the program for decades" and "restor[e] integrity and transparency to a process that for too long has been lacking in both."

Free-market organizations are calling on the Trump administration to both overhaul the Antiquities Act and reduce the size of national monuments, such as Bears Ears National Monument in Utah/BLM, Bob Wick

"In keeping with President Trump's campaign pledge to undo the harm massive national monument designations have inflicted on rural areas in the West and Maine, as well as fishing communities along the Northeast coast, the White House needs to take bold action," said National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen, Ph.D.  "Just trimming around the edges, as (Interior) Secretary (Ryan) Zinke has proposed, won't do."

The 37 signatories of the National Center's letter include leaders of prominent free-market environmental groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mountain States Legal Foundation, and Citizens for a Constructive Tomorrow.  It is signed by former Interior Department officials: G. Ray Arnett, assistant secretary of fish and wildlife and parks during the Reagan Administration, and George Rasley, the former assistant director of the National Park Service during the presidency of George H.W. Bush.  Current Idaho State Representative Judy Boyle and former California State Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth have signed the letter, as well as trade associations and businesses representing agriculture, logging and other interests.

Santa Monica NRA To Expand?

While the Trump administration seems poised to shrink the size of at least some national monuments, some members of Congress are pushing legislation that would add 191,000 acres to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Congressman Adam Schiff and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday announced legislation to protect waterways and wildlife, preserve cultural sites and enhance outdoor recreation. The Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act would expand the boundary of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include sites ranging from Griffith Park to the Santa Clarita Valley.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to expand the national park in Los Angeles’s backyard and protect more habitat for mountain lions and other wildlife, preserve important waterways and open spaces and connect residents and visitors to our rich history,” said Dennis Arguelles, the National Parks Conservation Association's Los Angeles program manager and chair of the Rim of the Valley Coalition. “This legislation answers the call for a lasting conservation legacy for the greater Los Angeles area.”

The legislation, previously brought by Representative Schiff, follows extensive research and public engagement by the National Park Service, which sent its findings to Congress in February of 2016. The Park Service recommended adding the “Rim of the Valley” corridor, and its stunning landscapes, critical wildlife corridors, iconic waterways and historic treasures, to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The legislation builds upon the study by calling for 190,000 acres from the Santa Susana Mountains to Downtown Los Angeles, to be added to the national park.

“Outward Bound Adventures see initiatives like the Rim of the Valley bill as especially significant in helping us to achieve our mission,” said Charles Thomas Jr., Executive Director of Outward Bound Adventures. We have connected more than 80,000 low-income, urban families of color to nature and outdoor recreation because areas like the Rim of the Valley make these natural landscapes accessible and affordable for underserved communities.  On behalf of the thousands of urban youth and families we serve, we without hesitation, emphatically support the Rim of the Valley bill.”

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Given the current administration, I fear those 3 dozen free-market organizations will have far more power than any other entity to sway the POTUS into causing much damage to the Antiquities Act.

Apparently Golden Gate National Recreation Area just dropped it's efforts to restrict dogs that it's been attempting for over a decade

It was a complex situation since a lot of the lands were given to NPS by the City and County of San Francisco on the condition that allowing dogs off-leash where they were previously allowed would continue in perpetuity. Apparently the big deal here was that NPS employees used private email accounts to coordinate with several organizations that wanted tighter dog-walking rules and/or elimination of dog walking depending on location.

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