Sherman Announces Federal Funds for New Visitors Center at King Gillette Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains
Today, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) announced that the National Park Service has been awarded $2.6 million to construct a visitor center at King Gillette Ranch, in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains.
The new visitor center will offer educational and recreational resources about the Santa Monica Mountains, provide access to miles of hiking trails in one of the most breathtaking areas within the park, and establish a permanent home for federal, state and local park agencies engaged in the preservation and conservation of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
"This funding helps fulfill a 30-year vision of the National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and California State Parks to offer a world-class visitor center capable of orienting visitors to the beautiful parks and beaches found in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area," said Woody Smeck, Superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. "Over 35 million visitors recreate in the parks annually, and we look forward to serving them with information that will enhance their enjoyment and safety."
"Public officials, environmentalists, and local residents have long fought to acquire King Gillette Ranch and help to preserve this 588-acre oasis in the Santa Monica Mountains," said Congressman Sherman. "With this commitment of funds, we can establish a visitor center at King Gillette Ranch and provide educational resources to the millions of visitors to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area."
King Gillette Ranch, formerly Soka University, was acquired by federal, state, local, and nonprofit park agencies in April 2005. Congressman Sherman secured $2.85 million for the acquisition of the property.
Sherman's predecessor, Congressman Anthony C. Beilenson, introduced legislation in 1978 to establish the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and helped secure millions in federal funds to preserve critical open space. The Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center will relocate to King Gillette Ranch from the National Park Service headquarters in Thousand Oaks.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area - a unit of the National Park Service - is the world's largest urban national park. It is located in the second largest urban area in the United States, spanning 46 miles across Los Angeles from Point Mugu in the west to Griffith Park in the east.
Since his election to Congress in 1996, Congressman Sherman has secured $20 million in federal funds for land acquisition and trail construction, including the 65-mile Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.