Today, the blessed silence of the Santa Monica Mountains takes on a more somber meaning as we remember one of the mountains’ most significant defenders, U.S. Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson, who passed away March 5, 2017.
It was his legislation that authorized creation of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, pursuant to the Act of November 10, 1978. Today, across a National Park System of more than 400 units, Santa Monica Mountains is recognized as one of the National Park Service’s most significant protected areas — it is the largest urban national park in the United States. Tony had a vision for the mountains, at a time when even many in the Park Service couldn’t see it. Today, the park is a trend-setter in education, serving under-represented populations, research and partnerships, providing “lessons learned” for other national parks challenged with climate change, urbanization and changing demographics.
Tony and Dolores Beilenson were friends and faithful donors to the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, the official philanthropic partner for the national recreation area. It was fitting that when the Fund held its first General Fundraiser last May, it chose to mark the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary by honoring Congressman Beilenson, this park’s founding legislator. A fitting tribute on a fitting occasion at a fitting location: the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
The naming of the Recreation Area’s visitor center is a matter of law, one that was advanced in 1998 by his good friend Rep. Ralph Regula of Ohio, which reads:
Sec.145. The principal visitor center for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area , regardless of location, shall be named for Anthony C. Beilenson and shall be referred to in any law, document or record of the United States as the “Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center.
It should be noted that Mr. Regula was a Republican Member of Congress — we think that adds testimony to the depth of Tony’s character as not only someone of good vision, but good character who was appreciated and loved by his colleagues, friends and family; and who will always be honored in these, the Santa Monica Mountains.
If you would like to make a donation in Tony’s memory, please use the form to the right, or click this link for a less-congested full-page form. If you have any difficulty with our on-line form, you can write us at SAMO Fund, 401 W. Hillcrest, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360. If you want to send a donation using the mail, please write “Tony Beilenson” on the memo line of you check along with any words you want us to pass on to the Beilenson Family.