Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) welcomed Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, to Solstice Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area during a visit as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative. Congressman Sherman invited Secretary Salazar and other administration officials to the Santa Monica Mountains to showcase the park's innovative programs as a blueprint for other national parks.
"I am encouraged that the Secretary took time to visit the Santa Monica Mountains and to hear from area officials about our efforts to encourage millions of visitors from across Los Angeles, the United States, and the world to enjoy our local treasure," said Congressman Sherman. "Secretary Salazar is clearly committed to conservation and recreation and I am pleased that he is helping park agencies in the Santa Monica Mountains achieve President Obama's goal of reconnecting people with the outdoors."
In April 2010, President Obama launched the America's Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor open spaces and reconnect Americans to the outdoors. Administration officials, including Secretary Salazar, held a public listening session in Los Angeles to discuss the opportunities to improve recreation and conservation near large urban populations.
During the Secretary's visit, Congressman Sherman emphasized the need to prioritize funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to preserve thousands of acres of pristine habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains from the threat of development. To date, the National Park Service has acquired 22,000 acres of parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains using the LWCF totaling $163 million, but approximately 22,700 critical acres remain to be acquired at an estimated cost of $57 million.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the nation's largest urban national park. Every year over 33 million visitors enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including swimming, surfing, hiking, wildlife viewing, bicycle riding and horseback riding.
Congressman Sherman has secured over $20 million in federal funding to preserve and expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. These funds were used to construct the Backbone Trail, allowing hikers to travel from Pacific Palisades to Point Mugu.