Do you think the Alabama Hills should have a National Scenic Area designation?
The Alabama Hills rise from the desert and provide a scenic backdrop for the community of Lone Pine. For thousands of years, the area has been continually used for subsistence, habitation and ceremonial purposes by the indigenous people known today as the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe. The Alabama Hills have inspired prominent photographers such as Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and David Muench.
Nearly 100 years of film history (and the birth of the American Western genre) exists in the Alabama Hills from silent movies to state-of-the-art motion pictures such as “Gunga Din,” “How the West Was Won” and more recently “Ironman” and “Django Unchained.” Promotional product and TV commercial film crews work there regularly. The Museum of Western Film history in Lone Pine, visited by thousands of people each year, contains extensive film history displays featuring the Alabama Hills.
Now, efforts to permanently preserve current commercial and recreational uses of the Alabama Hills – including filmmaking and movie site location hunting – are making headway on the national level.
Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) has introduced legislation that, if approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, will establish the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area.
The designation would cover 18,610 acres of the Alabama Hills west of Lone Pine and guarantee that current recreational activities would be allowed to continue.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), meanwhile, continues to work on a proposal to present to the Senate.
Both pieces of legislation come with the backing of a widespread coalition of stakeholders that includes residents, visitors, business owners and local, state and federal agencies. These various interests have been brought together over the past several years by the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, a non-profit entity committed to preserving the unique landscape and respecting all users’ needs.