LOS ANGELES (CNS) — About 173,000 acres of the Rim of the Valley Corridor that encircles valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura counties would be added into the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area under a recommendation released today by the National Park Service.

The “Rim of the Valley Corridor Draft Special Resource Study” evaluated four alternatives for protecting mountain lands in the roughly 650,000-acre study area, which surrounds the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, La Crescenta and the Simi and Conejo valleys in Ventura County.

The study’s authors threw their support behind “Alternative C,” which would add the 173,000 acres to the national recreation area “to provide more parks and protect habitat linkages, with an emphasis on creating more recreational opportunities near urban areas.”

The Park Service concluded that creating a new national park to include the land was not feasible, saying it would be more cost-efficient to simply add a portion of the land to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

“Many of the significant resources within the study area augment the national significance of the SMMNRA and provide habitat connectivity essential for long-term preservation of the significant resources within the Santa Monica Mountains, thus warranting physical connection to the SMMNRA boundary and a seamless interagency management approach,” according to the study.

The study considered three other alternatives:

• alternative A, maintaining the current management of the land;

• alternative B, developing a “cooperative conservation partnership” with landowners and private groups; and

• alternative D, adding 313,000 acres of the corridor into the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, said he was glad to see the study recommended the addition of a significant amount of land to the national recreation area, but was “disappointed that it did not also adopt Alternative D, which would provide the greatest resource protection possible.”

“I look forward to the public comment period, which will allow residents to weigh in on whether they support the Park Service recommendation or wish to go further,” Schiff said. “It is plain from the public comment period already undertaken that there is the broadest possible support for preservation of these natural resources.

“It’s my hope that after the public comment period, the Park Service will expeditiously conclude its study so we may move forward with the final phase of this lengthy process — enacting legislation to expand the park and preserve these beautiful resources for decades to come,” he said.

A series of public meetings will be held for residents to comment on the plan, which can be accessed online at www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley.

The meetings will be held:

• 7 p.m. May 4, La Crescenta Public Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd.;

• 7 p.m. May 5 at William S. Hart Regional Park, 24151 Newhall Ave., Newhall;

• 7 p.m. May 21, Mason Recreation Center, 10500 Mason Ave., Chatsworth; and

• 3 p.m. June 2, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, 130 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles.

A virtual/online public meeting will be held at 12:30 p.m. April 21.

Details on how to participate are available on the study website.