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Bill Would Envelop LA in a 200,000-Acre Greenbelt

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An expansion of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area would protect wildlife corridors and could mean more trails in Los Angeles' backyard

An abundance of hiking trails and easy access to beaches, parks, and open space are part of what makes living in Los Angeles so great. That wild backyard might get a lot bigger.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area—a swath of protected land that stretches from Griffith Park across the Santa Monica Mountains to Point Mugu—would more than double in size under a bill introduced Tuesday in Congress. Called the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, the bill would add nearly 200,000 acres across the Simi Hills, Santa Monica, Conejo, Santa Susana, Verdugo and San Gabriel mountains, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

A recreation area designation would allow the National Park Service to create trails, track wildlife, and maintain the land. The agency would also be able to purchase or receive donated land within the recreation area.

"We still have this wonderful wildlife corridor around us that allows mountain lions to come into Griffith Park and bears to come into people's swimming pools," Rep. Adam Schiff, who introduced the bill, tells the LA Times. "That's going to vanish if we don't act to protect the remaining open space."

The Daily News says the land proposed would also include, "the lowlands from Arroyo Seco to Griffith Park, Hansen Dam Recreation Area, Sepulveda Basin and El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the birthplace of the city." And, as KPCC points out, it isn’t all entirely wilderness. It also includes such cultural sites as the historic Los Angeles Pueblo and the Rose Bowl.

The bill comes only a little over a month after Rep. Ted Lieu proposed another piece of legislation that would begin the process of adding 35 miles of coastline to the recreation area.

Meanwhile, within the current boundaries of the recreation area, park officials just completed work on a 67 mile trail stretching from Pacific Palisades to Point Mugu in Malibu.

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