McKeon To Hold St. Francis Dam, Castaic Wilderness Meetings In Santa Clarita
Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon is expected to hold two meetings in Santa Clarita Tuesday, one for the Castaic Wilderness and one for the St. Francis Dam National Memorial and National Monument.
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The first meeting is a press conference for the St. Francis Dam National Memorial and National Monument scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Tesoro Adobe Historic Park in Valencia.
"To honor the memory of all the souls that were tragically lost, I have introduced legislation that will authorize a national memorial to commemorate those killed by the collapse of the Saint Francis Dam," said McKeon in a press release. "While our valley has a rich history filled with tremendous accomplishments and proud traditions, we cannot afford to forget the darker chapters. Future generations and outside visitors from around the globe will benefit from learning of this disaster and seeing first-hand the resiliency of our community."
Officials at the conference will discuss the bill and share information about the plans for the St. Francis Dam National Memorial and National Monument, said Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, director of the Santa Clarita Community Hiking Club.
McKeon's second public meeting of the day will be a "Fact Finding Meeting" for the Castaic Wilderness area.
The meeting will discuss the declaration of the area to be under a wilderness section with United States Forest Service which provides certain protections for the area, said Morris Thomas, district director for McKeon.
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The meeting is planned to be held at the Santa Clarita City Hall in the Century Room at 10:30 a.m.
"The wilderness meeting is going to be for input from the public," Erskine-Hellrigel said. "I'm sure there will be people for and against and we will try to address all questions, complaints and comments."
Speakers expected to attend the event include McKeon, Erskine-Hellrigel, city of Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste, Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, Vice President Rudy Ortega Jr. and Ryan Henson of the California Wilderness Coalition.
The protected area would include five roadless areas in the Angeles National Forest --Fish Canyon, Salt Creek, Elderberry Canyon, Tule and Red Mountain, according to a press release. The wilderness area is expected to improve the water quality of the creeks that feed into Castaic Lake, protect dozens of endangered species, Native American habitation sites and burial grounds, condor habitat, and the largest grove of Black Oak in the state of California.
"That's the whole purpose (of the event), to see what the public has to say about it," Thomas said.