Writer Weighs in on Reagan Ranch RV Park Plan
Editor's Note: Writer Ted Fulton provided this opinion piece for the Griffith Park Wayist about the plan to develop an equestrian RV park in the popular Los Angeles area park. Griffith Park is considered by many as the crown jewel in the city of Los Angeles' parks system. Much to the park's detriment, this makes these 4,400 acres of urban wilderness, according to the Wayist, a pawn in many major political fights. The Griffith Park Wayists are park users, enthusiasts, environmentalists, and public employees.
Local politicians, state and National Park Service officials recently gathered for a fund raiser to build an RV park along famously scenic Mulholland Highway in the Santa Monica Mountains. The scenic spot chosen for the development was a historic ranch once owned by Ronald and Nancy Reagan which became part of Malibu Creek State Park in 1974. The focus of the seven-acre RV park will be equestrian camping and will therefore have horse corrals and manure dumpsters. It has been suggested that this is an appropriate use of the president’s former ranch, and the project has been named the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Campground.
I respectfully suggest that this plan is flawed. The addition of RV parking, numerous paved camping sites and other infrastructure buildings will forever alter the scenic views and the integrity of this historic ranch. The state’s plan calls for massing vegetation along Mulholland Highway to “protect the view.” Massing vegetation at this site will block the view and be a significant fire hazard. Day-use facilities already exist at the park for equestrians.
If there is public demand to build a new larger facility on public land, nearby King Gillette Ranch is a far superior location and provides identical access to equestrian trails in the area. King Gillette Ranch is physically larger making it easier to disguise the project preserving the scenic view from Mulholland (a state designated scenic highway). A large stable screened by vegetation already exists on Gillette Ranch. Gillette Ranch is accessed via a major traffic artery (Malibu Canyon/Las Virgenes Road) as opposed to the Reagan Ranch which is not. The larger size of Gillette Ranch also offers a greater buffer between the campground and nearby homes in the event of wildfire.
GPW says… Once an RV park is built on the Reagan Ranch site, irreparable harm will be done to the historic property. However, the needs of the community should be addressed. Therefore, there must be a lot more discussion as to whether the Ranch site itself is the very best location for the RV park, or if nearby land would be just as trail accessible for the site of the RV park, while simultaneously saving a historic California state treasure. Seems pretty obvious to us which is the best solution.
Your comments on whether or not the Ronald Reagan Ranch at Malibu Creek State Park is the appropriate location for this RV park should also go to Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky via his website http://zev.lacounty.gov/.