Where is Santa Susana Field Laboratory located?
The former Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) is located in the Eastern Simi Hills, in Ventura County, California. The SSFL is west of the San Fernando Valley, south of Simi Valley, east of Thousand Oaks, and north of the 101 (Ventura) Freeway corridor.
The SSFL is home to a remarkable assemblage of prehistoric and historic cultural resources; the geologic setting is remarkably beautiful, springs and seeps are common, and the area includes extensive oak woodland, chaparral, and riparian environments.
The SSFL is in part owned by the Boeing Company, occupied by the Department of Energy (DOE), and owned by the federal government-administered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The federally recognized Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians (hereafter “Tribe” or “Santa Ynez Band”) believes that the entire former SSFL is worthy of being made into a United States National Monument.
How does something become a national monument?
The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the President to create national monuments on federal lands that contain historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, or other objects of historic or scientific interest. The President is to reserve “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” The act was designed to protect federal lands and resources quickly, and Presidents have proclaimed about 130 monuments. Congress has modified many of these proclamations and has abolished some monuments. Congress also has created monuments under its own authority.
Read National Monuments and the Antiquities Act to learn more.
Why should SSFL become a national monument?
Designating SSFL a National Monument would:
- Protect isolated and private places that were traditionally used for ceremonial purposes for 1000s of years, and which could be so-used in the future;
- It would protect many plant and animal species that were, are, and can be used by native and non-native peoples;
- It would protect Native American heritage sites, that can be used for educational purposes by everyone, and it would also help protect historic sites, important for the interpretation of the history of the United States in general, especially particular sites that are associated with the exploration of space.
Nowhere else on earth can one find prehistoric archaeoastronomical observatories in almost direct association with substantial relics from the beginnings of the America’s rocket-testing programs- at the SSFL the Stone Age and the Space Age exist literally side-by-side.
If SSFL is a modern-age space site, why do Native Americans support it being designating as a national monument?
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians would like to see the Santa Susana Field Laboratory complex protected, not just in a celebration of past accomplishments, but also so that modern Native Americans will have a safe and secure place where we can practice our culture today, teach their children about their ancestors and our duties to them and what they believed, and instruct those children, and others, in native values and the native way of living in harmony with nature.