#SSFLNationalMonument: Launch of an Idea

By Christian Walsh


#SSFLNationalMonument is born.

We shared our voices, our views, our hearts. People came together from all sides of the issues at Santa Susana, a place which has historically driven people apart instead of together.

Last night was different. There was something new in the air — a hope for an idea: #SSFLNationalMonument

We gathered signatures for a petition. We discussed the finer points of the Antiquities Act of 1906 and why it plays such an important role in what might happen next. For more information on National Monument Status, click here.

We want to provide the site with a future.

We don’t want to demolish history just because it’s been declared “excess” by NASA. Currently, the test stands are slated for demolition this year as a result of that declared status. If it were a National Monument, maybe that decision would not be made so easily. Once they’re gone, the problem will be solved — and the history will be lost to us forever.

The evening was sponsored by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Save Open Space/Santa Monica Mountains. Featured were award-winning wine selections, courtesy of the federally recognized Chumash Tribes’ Kita Wines, and Steve from See Me For Wine was also pouring some amazing California selections. Dave Dassler brought a collection of his favorite craft beers, and we all learned a little more about the finer points of beer. We gathered for wonderful tastes, treats and topical discussions amidst the spectacular views of Ahmanson Ranch, which many of the guests and hosts were involved in protecting. The rain was pouring and the hue of green was utterly breathtaking.

Among our honored guests and speakers were Orrin and Cindy Sage, whose family originally owned the land surrounding the lab. Some are familiar with beautiful Sage Ranch next door to the SSFL Field Lab. Sam Cohen of the Santa Ynez Band Of Chumash Indians shared some philosophies about why this designation can assist in protecting the site for the future. As co-sponsors, he was also kind enough to share some wonderful award-winning Kita Wine selections with particular favor to the Pinot Noir, which I found to be outstanding. This event was made possible by the following donations from organizations who believe in the cause:

Mary Wiesbrock, Chair of Save Open Space/Santa Monica Mountains who sponsored the t-shirts and helped to craft this idea in a way that only Mary can do.

Nancy Kidd of Simi Valley gave a rousing talk about her connection to the field lab, its magnificent history, and truly what is at stake.

Aleli Gonzalez Kelton was the Rocketdyne Photographer at the site and was kind enough to put together a video presentation of some of the most amazing shots documenting the tests and the history as it was taking place. Her stories really brought home the commitment the workers felt to getting the job done when so much was at stake. Click here to join our adhoc committee on Facebook to get involved and to see the video which we’ve since posted to the group.

Mati Waiya of Wishtoyo.org Malibu Chumash Village spoke about what this really means to all of us as a human family and reminded us all with ceremony, song and words from the heart about just how important it is to get this right. We need to trust each other. Sign here to add your name and get involved.

We were pleased to see so many legislative offices in attendance indicating clearly that this issue matters to so many, because #MonumentsMatter. They provide a future, a certainty that our children and future generations will know, appreciate and honor this time in history as it happened here.

#SSFLNationalMonument on Twitter and Facebook and spread the word.

Originally posted on Medium.com