Skie said it’s important for Congress to act quickly before the opportunity to conserve the land is lost. “We risk severing critical wildlife corridors if we can’t get in there and start figuring out what is needed,” she said. Opponents, however, said they remain concerned. “I still have many reservations about the study being worthwhile,” said Woodland Hills resident Carl Olson. Noting that Los Angeles County already has more than 400 parks and that the National Park Service has trouble maintaining the parkland it currently oversees, he asked, “Why add pricey territory when maybe the money ought to go to recreation projects in the parks we have right now?” The legislation only directs a study and does not authorize a new park. Congress, however, typically orders an agency to conduct a study as a way to invest the government in the underlying project, so it is often the first step in a larger strategy. Currently the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area consists of parts of the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susana Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, Verdugo Mountains, San Rafael Hills, and adjacent connector areas to the Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – The House voted Tuesday to begin extending federal protection to more than a half-million acres of mountains and canyons surrounding the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys. The bill, known as the Rim of the Valley Study Act, directs the secretary of the Interior Department to examine expansion of the Santa Monica National Recreation Area. Ultimately, supporters hope the National Park Service will embrace the open space and ecological resources. “The Rim of the Valley is a special place and we owe it to our children to develop a long-range plan that will balance preservation, recreation and the needs and rights of those living in and around the area,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the bill’s author. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsThe bill, he said, “will enable a study of alternatives for protecting some of the most beautiful land in Southern California for future generations of Americans to enjoy.” The measure still must pass the U.S. Senate, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein has introduced an identical bill. But Tuesday’s House passage is a significant win for supporters of the potential new park. The previous House Resources Committee chairman, Richard Pombo, was a strong champion of private-property rights and for years blocked the Rim of the Valley bill from even coming to the floor for a House vote. It passed Tuesday without objection along with a raft of other noncontroversial bills. “I’m very excited,” said Rorie Skie, chief deputy director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.