September 9, 2005
VIA FACSIMILE TO Clare Darden, Griffith Trust Member
Open Letter to the Department of Recreation and Parks
As the great-grandson of Col . Griffith I am writing to express my disappointment with the 2004 Griffith Park Master Plan. It seems the Melendrez Group wants to turn the park into an amusement park and/or major national tourist attraction, neither of which is what it was intended to be. It was intended to be a natural habitat where the people of Los Angeles could get away from the daily stresses of city life and relax in an uncluttered atmosphere. The numerous references to Central Park in New York are completely inappropriate. Central Park is a large mostly flat area in the middle of a major metropolitan city. Griffith Park is a rural mountainous mecca where people can commune with nature, hike, ride, or picnic their problems away. It does not need any more attraction than that.
I have read the digest of public feedback made to the city by the people of Los Angeles. 95% of these comments seem to be negative to this plan. I urge you to listen to these people, as they are the ones my great-grandfather intended to benefit from the use of the park, and perhaps get their input on restructuring a new master plan. I know many of them care deeply about the park and would be happy to serve on committees and attend community meetings to rectify this situation.
I am not in favor of, nor do I think my great-grandfather would be , of aerial trams, restaurants, lodging, kiosks, parking structures or commercial signage, all of which are not conducive to the natural environment of the park.
I am in favor of, speed bumps to deter drive thru usage, one designated mountain bike trail (to be maintained by those who use it), improvements to existing trails and roads, and perhaps some soccer fields for our youths would be appropriate as it is a park.
Finally, all these grandiose plans seem to be pointing toward entry, parking, and usage fees. May I remind you that in the deed to the city it stipulates that Griffith Park is to be a free park for the enjoyment of the people of Los Angeles. Any type of imposed fees would be a violation of the deed and will be vigorously contested by the Griffith family.