Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to charge for parking

Published by Steve on

That walk in the park soon won’t be free

Source of this article – Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2004.

Ashley Powers

Day trippers, mountain bikers and others will be required to pay for parking in the Santa Monica Mountains beginning July 1.

Low on revenue, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority is charging parking fees from $3 to $5 for the first time at 16 sites. The money will help plug an expected shortfall of $300,000 in the authority’s $2.7-million budget, spokeswoman Dash Stolarz says.

Slumping revenue from filming and fewer dollars from the city of Los Angeles has caused the budget squeeze. Meanwhile, the authority plans to boost the time rangers spend on arson patrol, but first it needs to hire more part-timers for upkeep.

Among locations affected: Rocky Peak Park, Ed Davis Park, Getty View Trailhead, Bosque Del Rio Hondo Park and Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve.

Fee collection boxes are being installed and violators could face fines of $60. Annual passes are $60 for weekdays and $100 for any day. Parking fees were already in effect at Temescal Gateway Park.

The authority’s board of directors approved the fees at its March meeting.

“I think it’s unfair. You should have free access to the outdoors,” says Janet Litton of Northridge, a hiker who affixed a protest petition to a sign in Wilacre Park.

Fees on public lands, including the Adventure Pass, have been controversial.

The Sierra Club denounced that program, but does not plan to oppose parking fees even if hikers are upset, says Mary Ann Webster, chairwoman of the club’s Santa Monica Mountains task force.

“We understand the state budget crisis like everyone else,” she says.