Santa Clarita’s Laurene Weste receives conservation award

OW Staff Writer | 9/13/2019, midnight

Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurene Weste was honored last week by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) for her vision and leadership in progressing the Rim of the Valley Campaign. The recognition took place at a centennial celebration for NPCA at the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles.

“I have the utmost respect for the mission and goals of the National Parks Conservation Association,” Weste said. “Their work so closely aligns with my passion for preserving the crucial natural resources of the Santa Clarita Valley and the surrounding mountain ranges. I am deeply honored to be selected for this recognition.”

The event invitation from NPCA praised Weste in stating that the award, “recognizes your role as a leading advocate for the Rim of the Valley. From the start, your vision and leadership have been integral to the success of the campaign, and thanks to you, we are on the verge of realizing our goals.”

The event was an opportunity to thank Los Angeles-area supporters, allies and partners on NPCA’s 100th anniversary. Also recognized were Robert Garcia of The City Project, and Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28), who worked closely with Weste on the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act.

“Congressman Schiff has been a determined ally and steadfast partner in our goal of preserving the Rim of the Valley. The legislation he introduced is vital to preserving cultural, archaeological and paleontological resources, as well as enabling wildlife to remain in their natural habitat and travel safely through the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susana Mountains, and the San Gabriel Mountain ranges circling the Los Angeles basin,” Weste said.

The legislation, House Resolution 1708, the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, was introduced by Rep. Schiff in March, and proposes to expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) to include a proposed Rim of the Valley Corridor Unit, which includes portions of Santa Clarita Valley.

Weste went to Washington D.C. in April of 2019 to provide testimony in support of the resolution. She testified that the bill would enable the National Park Service to better protect natural resources and habitats and provide members of the community with improved access to nature for recreational and educational purposes.

In addition to her work on the Rim of the Valley Campaign, Weste has been the driving force behind the city of Santa Clarita’s Open Space Preservation District. She helped found the district which was approved by voters in 2007, and is proud to have seen it grow to more than 12,000 acres in the last 12 years.