Beilenson Trailhead Designation Act
STATEMENT OF LENA MCDOWALL, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS CONCERNING H.R. 4658 TO DESIGNATE THE ENCINAL TRAILHEAD ON THE BACKBONE TRAIL IN SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA AS THE “ANTHONY ‘TONY’ BEILENSON TRAILHEAD”
June 14, 2022
Chair Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 4658, a bill to designate the Encinal Trailhead on the Backbone Trail in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area as the “Anthony ‘Tony’ Beilenson Trailhead”.
The Department supports H.R. 4658 with an amendment.
H.R. 4658 would recognize the contributions that former Representative Anthony C. Beilenson made toward the creation and protection of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by naming the Encinal Trailhead on the Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area after him. The bill states that any reference to the Encinal Trailhead would be considered a reference to the Anthony “Tony” Beilenson Trailhead.
In 1977, Representative Beilenson introduced legislation to protect lands within the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills in southern California. This legislation became part of the National Parks and Recreation Act (Public Law 95-625), which established the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the largest urban national park unit, by area, in the country when it was signed into law by President Carter.
During his many years in Congress, Representative Beilenson continually advocated for funding for land acquisition and protection for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. His efforts led to the protection of more than 23,000 acres of land, including sensitive habitats, scenic vistas, and cultural sites associated with the Chumash and Tongva peoples, as well as the history of Hollywood. All Americans can now enjoy these natural and cultural spaces.
To be recognized in a unit of the National Park System is a high honor. The National Park Service generally discourages commemorative naming of park features except when there is a compelling justification for the recognition, there is a strong association between the park and the person being commemorated, and at least five years have elapsed since the death of the person. These criteria apply to Representative Beilenson, and we believe this legislation is an appropriate way to recognize his role in protecting the Santa Monica Mountains.
Regarding the proposed designation of the trailhead in H.R. 4658, we recommend amending the bill to designate the “Anthony C. Beilenson Trailhead” so that the name used for the trailhead is consistent with the name used for the Santa Monica Mountains Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center, which was previously designated by an act of Congress.
Chair Neguse, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.