St Francis Dam National Memorial and Monument Collaborative Meeting #3

The third meeting of the St. Francis Dam National Memorial and Monument Collaborative took place on February 19, 2020 at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Centre Pointe Parkway.

Representatives from the Forest Service presented three alternate proposals for an interpretive trail leading from San Francisquito Canyon Road to the Monument marker overlooking the dam site. Attempts to obtain funding from the Copper Fire recovery funding have been unsuccessful so far.  

There was a two page handout of the Angeles National Forest Land Management Plan, and what is needed to make any changes to it – specifically either 1. Administrative Changes, and 2. Amendments.  Administrative changes are the easiest, compared to an Amendment.  Therefore, Administrative changes are quicker, and less expensive.  So ultimately, when there are any proposals to build anything, situating it directly on Forest Service land would entail more complicated procedures.  Anything situated off the direct Forest Service land, would be easier to approve, with fewer hoops to jump through.  

Everyone in attendance at the meeting then broke into one of four working groups of their choice: 1. Priorities for Heritage 2. Resources 3. Access, and 4 Public Outreach and Engagement.  Topics of discussion included the need to promote the National Memorial to the public through various means such as video documentaries.  How would these documentaries differ from those already in publication?  Who is our target audience?  What do we want to say?  The General consensus is, there are sufficient videos of the history and details of the failure.  The main theme that emerged was, what did we learn?  How did this event help us all?  What is the national impact?  There were new building codes, greater geologic and materials study, and the starting of the Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) in California.  Also, later on, came the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  These topics would be important to reach out to our national and international audience. There is also the Los Angeles local audience to whom we can impart the importance of the St. Francis Dam story as an important part of the story of Los Angeles, the acquisition of water which allowed a small town to grow into the large metropolitan area of the present.

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