New Bill Might Turn LA’s Beaches into a Federally Protected Park

El Matador State Park is a good example of the beauty that exists along the Los Angeles coastline. Photo: Shutterstock

The Inertia

California’s coastline is absolutely beautiful. Rugged, vast, and empty in parts, crowded and glittering in others. The drive from border-border is something everyone should do at least once. Contrary to popular belief, much of L.A.’s coastline is empty. Of course, lots of it is not, but just a half hour’s drive north up the coastline, there are miles and miles of almost nothing. It’s wonderful. So close to the loudness of Los Angeles lies this giant, perfect silence. And last month, a bill proposed in Congress looks to protect almost all of it. That would be a good thing.

Bill HR4871 was proposed by two Southern California reps, Ted Lieu and Maxine Waters. If it passes, it will turn an area covering Santa Monica to San Pedro (which includes the Ballona Wetlands of Playa del Rey) in the a national park protected by federal law. Also included with the proposal is a companion bill that seeks to expand the Santa Monica Mountains park further east towards the Angeles National Forest.

The area would be re-designated from the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area to the Santa Monica Mountains and Coastal Recreation Area, which means, of course, that beaches would also be part of the federally protected area.

As it stands right now, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area sits along nearly 50 miles of coastline. Should be bill pass, 35 more miles would be added. The idea behind the proposal is more than just protecting wildlife and the environment–it’s to make a place for people to enjoy. It has “the aim of creating or maintaining single contiguous trails along the Santa Monica Bay coastline and through Ballona Creek into the Baldwin Hills and encompassing major feeder trails connecting adjoining communities and regional transit to the trail system.”

As is always the case with these things, though, there are a lot of hoops to jump through. Although environmental groups support the bill, many regulatory agencies think it would be too great of an impact on those who already own property there. From an environmental standpoint, the bill would be great news for those that love the coastline along one of California’s biggest cities.