Don Henry | Federal Government Has Chance to Promote Safety, Serve Agua Dulce

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Agua Dulce borders many public lands and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) runs right through town. Many local residents enjoy hiking and horseback riding on the PCT in the nearby Angeles National Forest and through Vasquez Rocks Natural Area. It’s fair to say that the outdoors and outdoor recreation helps define our community.

Agua Dulce is lucky to have the PCT so close. However, part of the trail is on Agua Dulce Canyon Road, a dangerous 4-mile walk for hikers and equestrians.

As our community continues to grow, so does the danger. In an effort to improve public safety, the U.S. Forest Service has a land acquisition project to reroute the PCT off Agua Dulce Canyon Road and move it nearby to a safer trail corridor.

This will protect trail users and preserve valued open space.

The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the country’s most important conservation funding program, is crucial to this effort.

So far, the Forest Service has purchased 112 acres for the Agua Dulce re-route using just over $4.7 million from the LWCF. According to the nonprofit Pacific Crest Trail Association, 229 acres still must be acquired to complete the PCT re-route through Agua Dulce.

But the LWCF expired on Sept. 30 and Congress has yet to reauthorize it, despite overwhelming bipartisan support. That’s a shame.

Bills pending in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate would reauthorize this vital program and help our community move this trail improvement along.

The House Bill is H.R.502 To Permanently Reauthorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

The Senate Bill is S.569 – Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act.

We, the members of the Agua Dulce Town Council, have recently voted in support of this project. We have urged our elected representatives in Congress to pass these bills before the year is out. We ask community residents to call their Congress members as well.

Voice your support for the Pacific Crest Trail and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and ask them to renew this important program.

Please call U.S. Rep. Steve Knight at 202-225-1956 and urge him to make reauthorizing the Land & Water Conservation Fund a priority in the final days of the 115th Congress by passing H.R.502.

Also, please reach out to our senators and request they approve S.569. Sen. Dianne Feinstein can be reached at her Los Angeles office 310-914-7300 or her Washington, D.C., office at 202-224-3841.

Senator Kamala Harris can be reached at her Los Angeles office at 310-231-4494 or her Washington, D.C., office at 202-224-3553.

Don Henry

President, Agua Dulce Town Council

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